Across the Commonwealth, remote access to public meetings has significantly increased public participation in state and local government, and has lowered long standing barriers for people with disabilities, people with limited access to transportation, and people with work and family obligations.
MASSPIRG, and a broad coalition of good government, newspapers and disability rights organizations are urging lawmakers to make the current temporary virtual meeting mandate (expires March 31, 2022) permanent, enabling members of the public to attend and participate in Open Meetings either in person or remotely.
When we require remote access options to participate in local government, we ‘open up’ our Open Meetings. As a result, area residents can more easily participate in decisions about their schools, libraries, and communities. We must ensure this critical civic tool continues after the pandemic requirements expire.
Today, the legislature made an important down payment in permanent hybrid meetings by providing $30million to cities and towns for IT investments.