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Oklahoma Senate advances legislation temporarily revising Open Meeting laws during COVID-19 health crisis

The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved legislation temporarily revising Open Meeting laws so that some members of a public body could participate in public meetings via videoconference and teleconference.

Currently, Open Meeting laws allow some members of the public body to participate via video conference, but still require a quorum of members be physically present at the meeting. House Bill 3888 amends those laws to allow a quorum to be established by members of the public body participating via video conference.

“These temporary changes help promote the recommendations of federal and state health officials regarding social distancing among both the members of public bodies, as well as the general public who wish to remain involved in the civic functions of state and local government during this ongoing health crisis,” said Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus, and Senate author of HB 3888.

The legislation maintains public participation in any public meetings held via teleconference or videoconference, and how the public can participate must be included in the public entity’s notice of meetings, Howard said.

The rules are solely in response to the extraordinary circumstances presented by this ongoing public health crisis, and in light of the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency. Howard said the rules will expire March 1, 2021, absent legislative action.

The bill now advances to the House of Representatives.

For more information, contact Sen. Brent Howard at 405-521-5612, or email