Bill to Provide Limited Open Meeting Law Exception Passes House Committee

January 23, 2023

The bill would authorize a limited medical exception for members to participate remotely from a nonpublic location.

The House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee on Jan. 19 heard HF 198 (Rep. Erin Koegel, DFL-Spring Lake Park) which would provide a limited medical exception to the Minnesota Open Meeting Law.

The bill would allow members of a public body to participate in an open meeting through interactive technology from a nonpublic location up to three times in a year if advised by a health professional against being in a public place for personal or family medical reasons.

Under current law, this medical exemption is available only when a state of emergency has been declared under state law. HF 198 removes the state of emergency limitation.

Local officials testify in support

Minnetonka Mayor and former League of Minnesota Cities President Brad Wiersum provided testimony at the hearing, stating that the bill would provide limited flexibility for elected officials to navigate medical issues in their lives while managing the duties of their elected office. Olmsted County Commissioner Sheila Kiscaden also testified in support of the bill.

Watch a video of the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee hearing the bill

Next steps for the bill

HF 198 passed the House State and Local Government Finance and Policy Committee and was sent to the General Register. The Senate companion bill, SF 455 (Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan), has not yet been scheduled for a hearing.

Read more news articles