Important Massachusetts Open Meeting Law Change as State of Emergency Status is Lifted

As of June 15, 2021, Governor Baker has lifted the Massachusetts state of emergency order established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In light of this change, please take note that the Governor’s March 12, 2020 Executive Order suspending certain portions of the Open Meeting Law during the COVID-19-related state of emergency has been rescinded. Specifically, as of June 15, 2021, your Boards and all sub-committees may no longer take the following actions and remain in compliance with the Open Meetings Law:

  • Convene your meeting in a location that is not open and physically accessible to the public, as long as alternative, free means of accessing the deliberations of the meeting are provided to the public.  In other words, your meetings must return to in-person meetings, subject to any remote participation policies that you may have implemented prior to the state of emergency and in compliance with the Open Meeting Law and related regulations.
  • Convene your meeting without a quorum or Board director physically present at the meeting site.
  • If your Board conducts a remote meeting, it must ensure that all non-Board members who were scheduled to participate in or appear before the Board are able to participate in the meeting remotely as if he/she were a member of the Board.

Although the Legislature and Governor Baker’s office are discussing amendments to the Open Meeting Law to extend some, if not all provisions of the COVID-19 Executive Order, such amendments have not yet been enacted into law.  As such, your Board must return to pre-COVID operations to ensure compliance with the Open Meeting Law.

For more information or guidance about complying with the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law, please contact Greg Vanden-Eykel at 617.654.8200.