LANSING, Mich. — The state House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require all public officials and school board members to be physically present to participate in public meetings, according to the Canton Observer and Eccentric. The bill would ban participation through electronic means such as teleconferencing.

“This is being utilized far more than anyone knows; several dozens, if not hundreds of municipalities, boards of education, commissions and boards are doing this,” Rep. Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, who introduced the bill, told the Observer and Eccentric. “We need this (law) for transparency and to speak with those who are making decisions on behalf of others.”

Rep. LeBlanc told the Observer and Eccentric he began looking into the issue after learning a member of the Wayne-Westland Community Schools Board had participated in two board meetings and even voted via Skype while on an extended trip out of the country.

The Observer and Eccentric reports the bill received 48 cosponsors from both parties and passed the House 94-11, with all opposing votes coming from Democrats.

SOURCE:

The Canton Observer and Eccentric, “House approves bill requiring officials to physically attend meetings,” March 4, 2012

FURTHER READING:

MichiganVotes.org, “2012 House Bill 5335: Ban local government body “phone-in” voting.”

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