Governor Stitt signed Senate Bill 1031 into law, reinstating temporary modifications to the Open Meeting Act allowing for virtual public meetings.
As his first bill of the 2021 legislative session, Governor Kevin Stitt reinstated temporary modifications to the Open Meeting Act allowing for virtual public meetings including the same exemptions that were signed into law in 2020 with a few minor changes.
The changes from the 2020 exemptions include:
- Requires materials provided to members of the public body during a virtual meeting to immediately be made available to the public on the public body’s web site;
- Requires public bodies to conduct meetings in the manner described on the public notice of the meeting;
- Requires any necessary passcodes to access videoconferencing to be included in the public notice of a meeting; and
- Makes the exemptions effective until Feb. 15, 2022, or until 30 days after the expiration or termination of the state of emergency declared by the governor to respond to the threat of COVID-19, whichever date first occurs.
“This is critically important to continue to ensure the health and safety of our water and wastewater workers,” said ORWA Deputy CEO, Jimmy Seago. “Throughout this global pandemic, ensuring a safe water supply is critical for serving Oklahomans everywhere.
“We are thankful Governor Stitt signed Senate Bill 1031 to allow our water and wastewater systems the ability to conduct their meetings virtually,” he said. “This ensures that they can continue to protect their employees, allowing them to continue to deliver the best services to their customers all while staying safe and healthy.”
Governor Stitt said it is important to continue to allow these virtual meetings to take place as it has led to more Oklahomans engaging with the people who represent them.
“I want to thank Pro Tem Treat, Speaker McCall and the Legislature for getting this across the finish line to my desk,” said Gov. Stitt. “We’ve all heard from constituents, state agencies, local school boards and other public bodies requesting this, and I’m pleased we were able to deliver so quickly.”
Read Gov. Stitt’s full press release on Bill 1031 here.
Read the full signed bill here. SB1031 ENR & Signed by Gov
For the latest information on the Oklahoma Rural Water Association, visit orwa.org.
— Written by JD Rosman
The Oklahoma Rural Water Association was formed in 1970 and was the first of its kind, giving a voice for rural water systems and districts across the state. Today, ORWA represents more than 550 water and wastewater utilities, providing management solutions, training opportunities, serves as their legislative voice, and provides technical assistance to its membership. The ORWA works to meet the needs of its members, always working to provide the best and safest water supply to its customers. Learn more about ORWA at orwa.org.