LANSING, MI – Guidance on public and virtual meetings could be headed to local governments across the state after the passage of a bill in the legislature.
In the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court striking down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders last week, a handful of local entities quickly nixed public meetings scheduled to be held via Zoom. Whitmer’s executive orders allowed public bodies to hold electronic meetings since March. Remotely held meetings of public bodies could otherwise violate the Open Meetings Act.
Senate Bill 1108, sponsored by state Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, would permit virtual public meetings as long as the local government declares a state of emergency. It passed 85-16 during House a session Tuesday, Oct. 13.
It passed 36-1 in the Senate later Tuesday night. The bill now heads to Whitmer’s desk for final consideration.
The legislation would allow for virtual meetings by local governments until
Local governments across Michigan are in limbo following a state Supreme Court ruling, uncertain whether they’ll be able to keep holding public meetings virtually.
The court last Friday, Oct. 2, struck down Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s authority to continue Michigan’s state of emergency amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s the state of emergency that has empowered Whitmer to unilaterally issue orders like allowing public bodies to hold electronic meetings since March.
After several months of livestreaming meetings using platforms like Zoom, elected officials around the state are now wondering if they’re going to be forced to return to in-person meetings.
“Things got even more interesting in this incredibly strange year,” said Ann Arbor City Council Member Ali Ramlawi as the issue came up during a virtual council meeting Monday night.
While the governor said Friday her orders remain in effect for 21 more days and the Michigan Municipal League has advised
Will Buividas and Mike Scheidt (Photo: Public Safety Personnel Retirement System)
Two Public Safety Personnel Retirement System board members are being investigated for alleged Open Meeting Law violations after they revealed privileged information in legal claims against the state, records obtained by The Arizona Republic show.
Will Buividas, a Phoenix police officer, and Mike Scheidt, a Tempe firefighter, last month filed notices of claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — against PSPRS and its chairman, Scott McCarty.
They allege defamation, emotional distress and interference with business relations arising from an email McCarty sent earlier this year to about 60,000 people. It mentioned ethical questions about real estate deals Buividas and Scheidt entered with PSPRS staff that earned commissions for them. Buividas and Scheidt are seeking a combined $624,999 in damages.
But in their claims they disclosed discussions among PSPRS board members and legal counsel during a PSPRS executive