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Whitmer extends order for ­virtual public meetings

LANSING — Governor Whitmer has signed Executive Order 2020-154, which extends previous executive orders to provide temporary alternative means to conduct public meetings, conduct administrative proceedings, and provide the required notice under tax abatement statutes.

“COVID-19 is still present in Michigan, and I am committed to using every tool at my disposal to ­protect Michiganders from the virus,” said Governor Whitmer. “By consolidating and extending these orders, we can ensure that state and local governments can continue to provide important services in a manner that is safe, effective, and accessible. We have made progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it is not over yet. I encourage everyone to do their part by wearing a mask and maintaining six feet of physical distance when possible.”

Under Executive Order 2020-154, all three previous orders are consolidated and extended to protect the public health and safety of Michiganders. The new order:

– Allows public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act, including boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils and nonprofit boards, to use telephone- or video-conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business during the COVID-19 public health crisis, so long as they follow certain procedures to ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.

– Allows notice of any public hearing required to take place under a tax abatement statute to be provided electronically and by newspaper.

– Allows the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, Unemployment Insurance Agency, and other administrative hearings to be held by video conference or phone in place of in-person hearings.

Executive Orders 2020-129, 2020-132 and 2020-141 are rescinded with Executive Order 2020-154 remaining in effect during any state of emergency or disaster associated with COVID-19, and for 28 days thereafter to the extent necessary for public bodies to schedule remote meetings and hearings.

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