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Open Book

Open Meetings Act Reminder: We’re back in person

Beginning in 2020, the General Assembly passed several bills that temporarily permitted public bodies to meet virtually instead of in person, as required by Ohio’s Open Meetings Act (R.C. 121.22).  The most recent legislation allowing virtual meetings took effect Feb. 17, 2022, and expired June 30, 2022. (See Substitute House Bill 51.) 

As of July 1, 2022, all public bodies that are subject to Ohio’s Open Meetings Act should have resumed meeting in person. Members of the public body must be present in person to be counted as part of the public body’s quorum and to vote on any issue considered at the meeting. Further, all meetings of a public body must be open for the public to attend in person. Public bodies may continue to broadcast or livestream meetings as long as the public has the option of attending the meeting in person.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Sunshine Law Manual (available here) provides a complete rundown of the Open Meetings Act and the duties and obligations of a public body. Although there are some exceptions to the “in person” requirement for specific bodies, they are narrow. For specific legal advice, consult with your legal counsel.