May 24, 2022

Volume XII, Number 144


May 23, 2022

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Michigan Governor Signs Open Meetings Act Amendment Extending Sunset for Electronic Public Meetings

On December 23, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into law Senate Bill 1246, extending the authority for public bodies to conduct electronic "virtual" meetings for any reason through March 31, 2021. The law, now known as Public Act 254 of 2020 ("Act 254"), amends the Open Meetings Act (the "OMA"), with immediate effect, to extend authority for virtual meetings that was previously set to expire on December 31, 2020.

Act 254 also adds COVID-related safety procedures for public meetings held in-person before April 1, 2021 (assuming such in-person meetings are permitted under Michigan Department of Health and Human Services orders). Specifically, for an in-person meeting held before April 1, 2021, the public body shall do both of the following:

  • To the extent feasible under the circumstances, ensure adherence to social distancing and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for purposes of preventing the spread of COVID-19, including the measure that an individual remain at least 6 feet from anyone outside the individual's household.

  • Adopt heightened standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit participant exposure to COVID-19, as well as protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the public body's meeting place.

Act 254 provides that, commencing on April 1, 2021, public bodies may only meet remotely under specific circumstances (i.e. military duty, a medical condition, or a statewide or local state of emergency or state of disaster).

Act 254 incorporates recognition that a public body may declare a local state of emergency or state of disaster pursuant to a local ordinance—as well as pursuant to law or charter—and recognizes a municipality's chief administrative officer as an individual who may declare a local state of emergency or state of disaster. Public bodies and chief administrative officers are encouraged to consult with legal counsel regarding authority to declare a local state of emergency or state of disaster.

© 2022 Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC National Law Review, Volume X, Number 364

About this Author

Ronald Liscombe Finance Lawyer Miller Canfield Law Firm

Ronald C. Liscombe assists public sector clients with a range of issues, including public finance and governance matters. 

Ron has deep knowledge of state and local government, having worked in a variety of policy and program management roles prior to joining the firm. He is able to counsel and provide direction to public entities to develop innovative and effective strategies in response to challenging policy issues.

His experience includes advising and counseling two start-up public entities in all general legal matters, including the development of policies and procedures...

Steven D. Mann Finance Attorney Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone Detroit, MI

Steven D. Mann specializes in the area of municipal finance, representing public agencies as bond counsel.

His practice covers all facets of tax increment financing, special assessments, and economic development. He has also authored several amicus curiae briefs for both the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court, arguing on behalf public bodies and municipal associations in cases involving complex issues related to the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act.

Patrick F. McGow Public Finanace Attorney Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone Detroit, MI

Patrick McGow advises cities, counties, townships, villages and authorities on a broad range of infrastructure financing and related legal matters.

As bond counsel, his role is to help his clients understand their legal options and prepares the necessary documentation to authorize the issuance and sale of bonds to finance water and sewer projects, brownfield redevelopment, street and road improvements, drainage projects and economic development initiatives, among others. He also has extensive experience in tax-exempt financing for private activity bonds (solid waste and...

Sean C. Rucker Public Finance Attorney Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone Detroit, MI

Sean Rucker is an associate in Miller Canfield's Public Finance Group. He is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and previously interned with the General Motors Student Corps and the Detroit Police Department Board of Commissioners. He also worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Victoria A. Roberts in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. 

    Amanda Van Dusen Public Finance Attorney Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone Detroit, MI

    After more than 35 years in practice, Amanda Van Dusen continues to distinguish herself as one of the most successful and influential public finance attorneys in the State of Michigan. Amanda has been recognized for her public finance work by Best Lawyers in America every year since 2003 and she was named Detroit Public Finance Lawyer of the Year in both 2015 and 2017.

    Amanda's practice includes a wide array of public law clients including the City of Detroit, school districts (K-12 and higher), airports, counties and solid waste management authorities as bond counsel in...