As part of its social distancing initiatives, MPRB Commissioners will call in and audio of the meeting will be viewable via normal webcast and TV options. The public is encouraged to view the meeting from home and submit Open Time public comments by email. Although commissioners will not be physically present, the Board meeting is open to the public, in person comments can still be made during scheduled Open Time, and social distancing will be encouraged. Board meetings start at 5 pm and are held in the Board Room at the MPRB Mary Merrill Headquarters, 2117 West River Road North, Minneapolis. Meeting agendas are online.
A Note about the Open Meeting Law and COVID-19
The State of Minnesota Department of Administration has offered the guidance regarding the COVID-19 health pandemic and the Open Meeting Law. They highlight Minnesota Statutes, section 13D.021. Section 13D.021, subdivision 1 which permits public bodies to hold meetings via telephone or other electronic means if the conditions of this section are met.
Section 13D.021 requires a public body to make a determination that an in-person meeting is “not practical or prudent because of a health pandemic or an emergency declared under chapter 12.” At this time, the governor has declared an emergency under Ch. 12.
Requirements for holding a meeting via telephone or other electronic means include:
- All participating members can hear one another;
- Members of the public at the physical meeting location can hear all discussion “unless attendance at the regular meeting location is not feasible due to the health pandemic”;
- At least one member of the public body is present at the meeting location, “unless unfeasible due to the health pandemic”; and
- All votes are taken by roll call.
To the extent practical, public bodies should allow the public to monitor the meeting remotely, pursuant to subdivision 3 of this section. However, the public body may charge for the costs incurred as a result of those additional monitoring connections.