*update from AAG Lauren*
I have reviewed the complaint you submitted against the Lincoln City Council. The Council has not conducted any videoconferencing meetings under the provisions in § 84-1411(2) during the month of July, as it is not an entity which may do so. To the extent they may have done so up until 30 June, this was authorized under the Governor’s Executive Order No. 20-24. Further, § 84-1411(6) allows a “member of the public or any other witness other than a member of the public body to appear before the public body by means or video or telecommunications equipment.” There is no requirement that the locations of individuals participating in this manner be confirmed or announced or “open and accessible” to participants. Thus, the Council’s allowance of video participation by members of the public was proper. Please note that the Council has indicated it plans to allow public comment only in chambers beginning at its July 27th meeting.
Laura A. Nigro
Assistant Attorney General
I’m writing to you today about potential violation of the Nebraska Opening Meetings Act.
This is a section pulled from the statue:
(3) Videoconferencing means conducting a meeting involving participants at two or more locations through the use of audio-video equipment which allows participants at each location to hear and see each meeting participant at each other location, including public input. Interaction between meeting participants shall be possible at all meeting locations. Source: Laws 1975, LB 325, § 2; Laws 1983, LB 43, § 1; Laws 1
I’m not a lawyer, but I know a few. One happens to be the Attorney General of the State of Nebraska.
As the citizens testifying are doing so from private homes, residences, and other non-public places. These places would have to be open and accessible for meeting participants to have interaction.
I therefore believe that you would have to confirm and announce every zoom location that is sending video teleconference testimony or information.
I eagerly await a written legal opinion (within 24 hours) from a city or state attorney on the potential violation of the Open Meetings Act.