By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY–On Wednesday, SB12, passed out of committee in the Senate. The bill will “allow member os governmental bodies to participate in meetings and deliberation via electronic communications under certain circumstances.” It covers members of governmental bodies as related to the Alabama Open Meetings Act.
The goal of the bill is to reduce travel reimbursements for members to attend meetings where extensive travel is required by allowing them to attend via conference call or other electronic means.
The bill requires that there be a public location provided for the general public to be able to attend the meeting.
Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), sponsor, amended the bill to include a requirement that a quorum be present at the physical location in order for the meeting to take place.
Another of the bill sponsors, Senator Trip Pittman (R-Daphne), said about the bill, “If we can save some money, with committees that meet across the state. If we can save fuel and mileage but would still allow the functions to take place, but save cost.”
“There are decisions that take place in these meetings, and if the public wants to be involved then they can be involved and the press will be included also.”
This bill only involves statewide committees, cities and counties committees are not included as being able to use this method under the bill.