Public Meetings during the Coronavirus Health Emergency
On March 27, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Sub. HB 197 into law. Part of the bill is an amendment to the Ohio Open Meetings Law which permits public bodies to conduct meetings and hearings electronically during the coronavirus public health emergency. The amendment enacts section 121.221 of the Ohio Revised Code, establishing criteria under which the objectives of openness can be served without requiring public officials or members of the public to jeopardize their health by exposing themselves to risks of contagion.
Under this law, public bodies may conduct and attend meetings and hearings by means of teleconference, video conference or any other similar electronic technology The public body must ensure that the public can observe and hear the discussions and deliberations of all the members of the public body to the extent that they could in a "traditional" open meeting (for instance, "executive sessions" would still be excluded).
We are working to ensure that this can occur as easily and effectively as possible. Council and committee meetings will be held via videoconferencing on the Zoom cloud-based video conferencing platform. These meetings will be streamed live for the public on YouTube; a link is below.
Members of the public will be asked to watch the meeting via the live stream. In limited cases, a member of the public will be permitted to join the meeting for a specific purpose; however, for the most part, public participation will be available by email message, which will then be conveyed to the meeting by the meeting host.
We know these are challenging times for everyone. We hope that this effort on the part of your local officials will at least make access to your Village government simple and straightforward.