HB447 Introduced

House Bill 447 to extend the Right-to-Know Law so that a quorum for a state-wide meeting may include members attending remotely has been introduced in the N.H. House and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. This bill is sponsored by Rep. James Grenier (R), Rep. Virginia Irwin (D), Rep. Lucy Weber (D), Rep. David Kidder (R), Rep. Steven Smith (R), Sen. Jeff Woodburn (D).

This bill adds language in 3 parts of RSA 91-A:2.  It adds a new sentence to section RSA 91-A:2, II, renumbers RSA 91-A:2, III(b) to RSA 91-A:2, III(b)(1) and adds a phrase, and then it adds a new subsection RSA 91-A:2, III(b)(2).

The new sentence in RSA 91-A:2, II changes a meeting notice to include whether members may attend remotely.  Here is the new sentence:

If the notice required under this paragraph pertains to a meeting of a board or commission of a state agency or authority where a meeting may be conducted by means of telephone or electronic communication, the notice shall include a statement that telephone or electronic communication is available to members of the public body and to members of the public, information about the kind of telephone or electronic communication that will be used, and the call-in information necessary to participate in the meeting.

The new phrase added to renumbered RSA 91-A:2, III(b)(1) adds an exception referencing the new subparagraph: “or as provided in subparagraph (2),” Here is the revised sentence:

(b)(1) Except in an emergency or as provided in subparagraph (2), a quorum of the public body shall be physically present at the location specified in the meeting notice as the location of the meeting.

The new subsection RSA 91-A:2, III(b)(2) defines the requirements for members of a quorum to attend remotely.  Here is the new subsection:

(2) The physical presence of a quorum of the public body as required under subparagraph (1) shall not apply to any meeting of a board or commission of a state agency or authority, as defined in RSA 91-A:1-a, VI(c), excluding the board of trustees of the university system of New Hampshire, if the number of members of the board, commission, or authority necessary to meet the quorum are present by any combination of physical presence and by means of telephone or electronic communication, or in any other manner to allow all participating members to communicate with each other contemporaneously. In order to meet the quorum requirement under this subparagraph, the chairperson, or designee, of the board or commission of the state agency or authority shall be physically present at the location of the meeting, and shall assure that all members of the board or commission and members of the public who are in attendance are able to communicate contemporaneously.

The full text of the bill is available here.

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