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December 19, 2022

Today, Citizens Union joined more than a dozen transparency and disability groups in calling the legislative leaders pass new rules that ensure that all public meetings in the Legislature are webcast. Due to changes in the Open Meetings Law (OML) approved by the Legislature in April, if the Senate and Assembly intend to use videoconferencing to allow members to participate remotely in public meetings, they must adopt a one-time joint resolution after a public hearing to authorize videoconferencing.

We called lawmakers to adopt the following changes, as part of the resolution authorizing videoconferencing:

  1. Webcast all of the Senate and Assembly’s committee meetings, and make archived videos and transcripts available online. Implementing videoconferencing technology for members’ use will facilitate webcasting meetings.
  2. Allow the public to participate in public hearings through videoconferencing, using both internet and phone options to accommodate different levels of technology literacy and internet access.
  3. Require that American Sign Language (ASL) and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) interpretation are available for all webcasts of meetings where public comment is taken, such as legislative hearings, without requiring a specific request, to ensure full accessibility for Deaf New Yorkers.

The full letter can be found here.

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