To the editor:
Gov. Hochul signed into law legislation which mandates public bodies to post meeting minutes online within 14 days of a meeting. A copy of the Bill information is here: https://tinyurl.com/mjma3edv.
This legislation originated from the New York Coalition For Open Government, who reached out to Assembly Member Amy Paulin. Mrs. Paulin introduced the bill in the Assembly and Senator Anna Kaplan introduced the bill in the Senate.
The new law is significant in that the Open Meetings Law does not currently mandate that meeting minutes be posted online. Under current law meeting minutes are required to be available if requested 14 days after a meeting. Effective immediately public bodies with a regularly updated website must post meeting minutes online within 14 days of a meeting. In lieu of minutes public bodies can post a video recording, audio recording or a transcript of the meeting.
The New York Coalition For Open Government does not agree with posting recordings in lieu of written minutes. It is our position that public bodies who record their meetings should post written minutes and a copy of any recording. This should not be a situation of one or the other and there is no reason why minutes and recordings cannot both be posted online.
Many individuals across NY State are hearing impaired and posting written minutes is necessary for them to stay informed. It is also important to have a written record of meeting attendance, motions made and votes taken. It is quicker and easier for an organization like ours to monitor compliance with the Open Meetings Law by reviewing meeting minutes or transcripts than it is by viewing several hours of a meeting recording.
President, New York Coalition For Open Government