OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma State Senate passed a bill that a Senate leader says will modernize the state’s Open Meeting Act.
Senate Bill 1032, written by President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, mandates that all public meetings held in a physical location include a livestream so citizens can watch virtually, unless the governmental entity faces technical or logistical difficulties, according to a State Senate news release.
The bill also allows for completely virtual public meetings in all counties covered by each emergency declaration immediately upon a declaration of emergency by the governor.
“Local, county and state entities were forced during the pandemic to move public meetings online. That move provided more access to citizens to participate in government at all levels. It makes sense to incorporate those new technologies into public meetings moving forward. Doing so will increase transparency and accountability of government all levels, the whole purpose of the open meeting laws. I appreciate my Senate colleagues for advancing this key government modernization measure and look forward to it moving through the House,” Treat said.
The bill next goes before the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, is the author.