Modernize The Vote

MASSPIRG urges lawmakers to open up the Open Meeting Law

State legislature to consider updating Open Meeting Law

TPIN staff | Public Domain
MASSPIRG's Deirdre Cummings testifying at State House hearing in support of bill to open up the Open Meeting Law. She was joined by Gavi Wolfe, ACLU of MA and Geoff Foster, Common Cause, MA.

MASSPIRG’s Deirdre Cummings testified before the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, in support of legislation that will guarantee greater access to open meetings by allowing members of the public to attend and participate in meetings in person or remotely.

Since early 2020, the Legislature has suspended provisions of the Open Meeting Law to enable public bodies to carry out their responsibilities remotely, with virtual access and participation by members of the public. As good government practices have evolved, many public bodies have combined the best of old and new, enabling both in-person and remote attendance.

When this temporary suspension expires, we should not regress to in-person meetings only.

An Act to Modernize Participation in Public Meetings will ensure greater access to open meetings for everyone — particularly for people with disabilities, caregiving responsibilities, and limited transportation — by allowing officials and members of the public to attend meetings in person or remotely.

Government participation and transparency is the cornerstone to a strong democracy. This bill provides for both, making government meetings more accessible and transparent. The purpose of the Open Meeting Law is to ensure transparency in the deliberations on which public policy is based and give the public an opportunity for input. The democratic process depends on the public participating and having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action that affect them, their families, and communities.

We can’t go backward. Let’s keep the door open for everyone who wants to participate in their government.

For more information see our testimony, and press release

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