Senate Bill 94
151st General Assembly (Present)
Senate Elections & Government Affairs 3/30/21
Awaiting consideration in Committee
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE AND CHAPTER 265, VOLUME 82 OF THE LAWS OF DELAWARE RELATING TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT.
Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 243 (150th General Assembly) enacted § 10006A of Title 29, which allows an advisory body to hold a virtual meeting, if there is an anchor location that is open to the public, allows any public body to hold public meetings during a state of emergency, and clarified that public bodies must allow a member with a disability to attend a meeting electronically as a reasonable accommodation under § 4504 of Title 6, unless doing so would present an undue burden. Senate Substitute No. 1 for Senate Bill No. 243 sunsets on June 30, 2021. During the last year, citizens and members of public bodies have become comfortable with virtual meetings and attendance and participation in public meetings has increased because virtual meetings are more convenient and accessible to many citizens. Thus, this Act makes permanent changes to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), Chapter 100 of Title 29, that allow any public body to hold a virtual meeting if there is a physical anchor location where the public can attend the meeting in person and other notice and access requirements are met. Specifically, this Act does all of the following: 1. Repeals the current video-conferencing provision of § 10006 of Title 29 and the temporary provisions of § 10006A of Title 29 and replaces these sections with permanent virtual meeting requirements. 2. Maintains the requirement that a public body must allow a member with a disability to attend a meeting electronically as a reasonable accommodation except if doing so imposes an undue burden on a public body whose members are all elected by the public. 3. Requires that a virtual meeting conform to all requirements under FOIA, including adequate notice that includes information on how the public may view and provide comment, if public comment is accepted. 4. Provides that during a state of emergency, or to prevent a public health emergency, all public bodies may hold virtual meetings without an anchor location. This Act also makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual. This Act requires a greater than majority vote for passage because § 1 of Article IX of the Delaware Constitution requires the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly to amend a charter issued to a municipal corporation.
Takes effect upon being signed into law