The State Office of Information Practices (OIP) has confirmed with the Governor’s office that when the current Emergency Proclamation expires on March 25, 2022, all restrictions on the Sunshine Law will also end. This means that starting March 26, 2022, Sunshine Law boards must abide by all requirements of the Sunshine Law, including the new requirement for a physical meeting location for any remote meeting held online.
For a remote meeting, the notice must list at least one physical meeting location that will be open to the public and connected via interactive conference technology (e.g., Zoom) to the remote meeting. However, unlike the usual in-person meeting, remote meetings do not require board members to appear in-person at the physical meeting location to participate; the physical location is simply a convenience for those without the ability or inclination to use their own equipment or internet connection to an online meeting, and it gives them the option to participate from a physical location where the board has set up and will maintain the remote meeting connection. If the board’s audio-visual connection to the remote meeting fails at the requisite physical location (or at official sites for in-person meetings), the meeting must be automatically recessed for up to 30 minutes while the board attempts to restore the connection. If the meeting cannot be reconvened within 30 minutes after interruption to communication, and reasonable notice has not been provided to the public of how the meeting will be continued to another date or time, the meeting is automatically terminated.
Additional changes were made to the Sunshine Law, effective January 1, 2022. Since then, OIP has received an extraordinarily high number of complaints about boards’ failure to follow the Sunshine Law’s notice requirements, which have resulted in the cancellation of many meetings. Boards are strongly encouraged to review OIP’s extensive online training materials on the Training page of its website, so they can properly comply with the Sunshine Law and avoid having to cancel meetings or receive other complaints about them.
If you would like to timely and directly receive these What’s New articles, please request to be placed on OIP’s email list at [email protected] and provide your new or updated email address. Mahalo!