CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in the Opinion of the Star Ledger Editorial Board, “Beware those who preach transparency, then click off the livestream.” The Opinion notes that one of the positives that has come out of the pandemic is increased citizen participation in local government through remote access to meetings. The Opinion further notes that the law the enacted during COVID for remote access does not contain a provision mandating a remote option to be used after the state of emergency is over and that many counties have dropped their livestreams.
“It almost reads as if agencies can’t conduct meetings electronically during non-emergencies,” says attorney CJ Griffin of Pashman-Stein, one of the state’s top open records experts. “It is unclear if they can do that at other times.”
The Opinion also reprinted a tweet from CJ Griffin on the subject:
Although the pandemic hindered OPRA, it made public meetings much more accessible. More people attended and participated because meetings were virtual. The Legislature should amend OPMA [the Open Public Meetings Act] to make it clear that virtual meetings are legal and that remote participation is required
To view the Opinion of the Star Ledger Editorial Board, click here