Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law on April 27, 2012, a bill that will enable more governmental agencies to conduct public meetings using audio and video communication technology for enhanced efficiency and flexibility to meet citizens’ needs.
The Intergovernmental Cooperation act (CS/SB 396) enables governmental entities that represent a geographically diverse membership to establish a quorum to conduct meetings using communications media technology. The new law will apply to entities covering more than five counties, three of which are not contiguous. State agencies with statewide reach have been permitted to conduct meetings this way for several years.
The ability to conduct public meetings using modern communication technology will enhance the agencies’ flexibility to conduct timely meetings on urgent matters. E-meeting technology also can reduce travel expenses and save time. The new law takes effect July 1, 2012.
“It’s great to have the flexibility to use technology when it makes sense for our member cities and their citizens,” said Nicholas Guarriello, General Manager and CEO of Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA), one of the agencies affected by the new law. FMPA is a joint-action agency for municipal electric utilities whose governing board members are located throughout the state from the panhandle of north Florida to the southern-most city in Key West.
“We strive to be good stewards of our citizens’ money,” said Guarriello. “This is a helpful tool to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.”