HBAV and other stakeholders have been seeking additional clarity regarding local elected body’s and appointed commission’s statutory authority to meet electronically to conduct their customary business, including processing of various land-use applications, budgeting, appropriating funds, etc during the State of Emergency. As we’ve written previously, there has been varying interpretations of the Code of Virginia and a recent opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring re: the statutory authority for local governing bodies, appointed commissions, and other local/regional bodies to hold electronic meetings during the State of Emergency without a quorum physically present in one location.
Yesterday, Governor Northam released a budget amendment (attached) which provides expanded authority for local public bodies to conduct electronic meetings when the purpose of the meeting is to “…discuss or transact the business statutorily required or necessary to continue operations of the public body … and the discharge of its lawful purposes, duties, and responsibilities”.
HBAV believes that this amendment will help provide local governments the authority they need to evaluate and implement electronic meeting ordinances and procedures – and continue, to a degree, taking action on land-use and economic development applications during the State of Emergency. The General Assembly is scheduled to return to Richmond on April 22nd to take action on all of Northam’s amendments. The Amendment is linked below.