Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 37. Virginia Freedom of Information Act

§ 2.2-3708.2. Meetings held through electronic communication means during declared states of emergency.

Any public body, or any joint meetings thereof, may meet by electronic communication means without a quorum of the public body physically assembled at one location when the Governor has declared a state of emergency in accordance with § 44-146.17 or the locality in which the public body is located has declared a local state of emergency pursuant to § 44-146.21, provided that (i) the catastrophic nature of the declared emergency makes it impracticable or unsafe to assemble a quorum in a single location and (ii) the purpose of the meeting is to provide for the continuity of operations of the public body or the discharge of its lawful purposes, duties, and responsibilities. The public body convening a meeting in accordance with this section shall:

1. Give public notice using the best available method given the nature of the emergency, which notice shall be given contemporaneously with the notice provided to members of the public body conducting the meeting;

2. Make arrangements for public access to such meeting through electronic communication means, including videoconferencing if already used by the public body;

3. Provide the public with the opportunity to comment at those meetings of the public body when public comment is customarily received; and

4. Otherwise comply with the provisions of this chapter.

The nature of the emergency, the fact that the meeting was held by electronic communication means, and the type of electronic communication means by which the meeting was held shall be stated in the minutes.

The provisions of this section shall be applicable only for the duration of the emergency declared pursuant to § 44-146.17 or 44-146.21.

Nothing herein shall be deemed to invalidate any action taken at a meeting held by a public body using electronic communication means that occurred between March 20, 2020, and July 1, 2021, if such public body provided public notice, public access, and public comment commensurate with the requirements of this section and §§ 2.2-3710, 2.2-3711, and 2.2-3712.

2018, cc. 55, 56; 2019, c. 359; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 33, 490; 2022, c. 597; 2024, cc. 305, 344.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.