COVID-19 & Public Meetings

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From the Executive Office of the Governor:


On March 20, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-69 which relates to local government public meetings. The order specified that any Florida Statute that requires a quorum to be present in person or requires a local government body to meet at a specific public place is suspended.

From the Attorney General's Office:


On March 19, 2020, Attorney General Ashley Moody responded to the Govenor's inquiry regarding local government public meetings. In her letter to Governor Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Moody writes:

You state that, as a result of the dangers of COVID-19, public safety directives encourage citizens to engage in "social distancing" and to avoid public gatherings, where possible. As a result, your office “has been contacted by numerous county and local government bodies regarding concerns for public meetings held in light of the COVID-19 public health emergency. These entities raise issues involving Florida Statutes and Attorney General Advisory Opinion interpretations that limit the ability to hold public meetings using communications media technology.”
....
It is my opinion under existing law that, if a quorum is required to conduct official business, local government bodies may only conduct meetings by teleconferencing or other technological means if either (1) a statute permits a quorum to be present by means other than in person, or (2) the in-person requirement for constituting a quorum is lawfully suspended during the state of emergency. If such meetings are conducted by teleconferencing or other technological means, public access must be afforded which permits the public to attend the meeting. That public access may be provided by teleconferencing or technological means.


Click here to read her full response.
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