April 25, 2022

The Legislature Amends the Open Public Meetings Act to Address How to Hold Meetings Remotely

Olympia, WA

Some amendments to the Act were effective March 24, 2022, and the remainder take effect on June 9, 2022.

In large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and recognition of how public meetings have changed and evolved over the last 50 years, the Washington State Legislature recently amended the Washington State Open Public Meetings Act (“OPMA”). Most of the changes to the OPMA take effect on June 9, 2022, except for certain changes that took effect when Governor Inslee signed the bill on March 24, 2022. The most significant changes relate to how public agencies may conduct meetings remotely and/or limit physical attendance at meetings, while still ensuring opportunity for public participation. Given the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, public agencies are currently still required to offer a remote option and are permitted to offer an in person option for public meetings. This is because the Governor’s proclamation waiving certain OPMA requirements due to the COVID-19 crisis remains in effect until the Governor ends the state of emergency or until rescinded. As a result, the guidance we previously provided on this topic (here) still applies.

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