Governor Whitmer Extends Executive Order Allowing Public Bodies to Meet Remotely

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signs Executive Order 2020-75, which extends a previous Executive Order that allows public bodies to conduct remote public meetings during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Order 2020-75 expires on June 30, 2020. 

 “As we continue to flatten the curve, it’s important to give public bodies the flexibility they need to conduct virtual meetings and limit in-person contact,” Governor Whitmer said. “During this ongoing crisis, it’s critical to ensure public officials can continue to do their jobs and meet the needs of residents, while also ensuring meetings remain open, accessible and transparent to the public.” 

 Under Executive Order 2020-75, public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act, including boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils and nonprofit boards, can use telephone- or video- conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business during the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, so long as they follow certain procedures to ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.  

 Public bodies must meet the following criteria when holding a public meeting electronically:  

  • Ensure two-way communication for members and the public to hear and address each other when speaking.  
  • Provide adequate notice to the public of the meeting.  
  • Post a public meeting notice on their website.  
  • Permit participants to record or broadcast the public meeting.   
  • Allow participants to address the public body during a public comment period.  

 The order also temporarily authorizes public bodies, departments and agencies to use technology to enable remote participation in public comment and hearings, and temporarily excuses school boards from monthly meeting requirements. 

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