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Oklahoma Legislators Revise Open Meetings Act During Pandemic

Oklahoma lawmakers approved legislation late Tuesday that revises open meetings laws during the coronavirus pandemic.

Currently, Open Meeting laws allow some members of the public body to participate via video conference, but still require a quorum of members be physically present at the meeting.

Senator Brent Howard says this new measure ensures government functions while still preserving public safety.

"It's a modification of the Open Meetings Act. And what it's going to allow for is video conferencing and teleconferencing in for our government entities and public entities," said Howard. "So, that's going to allow for social distancing and other CDC recommendations."

Senate Bill 661 is only a temporary measure running through November 15th, or the end of Oklahoma’s statewide emergency designation — whichever comes first.

Personnel at the State Senate were getting tested Tuesday for the coronavirus after a state capitol employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The bill and its emergency clause now head to Governor Kevin Stitt for his signature.

Update: Governor Stitt signed SB661 Wednesday morning. 

Michael Cross is the host of KOSU's Morning Edition.
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