The State Rehabilitation Council Division for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Maine (Council) allows participation in its public meetings by remote methods in accordance with 1 MRS §403-B(1).
“Remote methods” means telephonic or video technology allowing simultaneous reception of information and will include other means when such means are necessary to provide reasonable accommodation to a person with a disability.
Members of the Council are expected to be physically present for public meetings except when being physically present is not practicable, as outlined in 1 MRS §403-B(2)(B)(1-4), due to:
- The existence of an emergency or urgent issue that requires the Council to meet by remote methods;
- Illness, other physical condition or temporary absence from the jurisdiction of the Council that causes a member of the Council to face significant difficulties traveling to and attending in person at the location in the notice under Section 406 of the Freedom of Access Act;
- As the Council is a public body with statewide membership, significant distance a member must travel to be physically present at the location in the notice under Section 406; or
- The area of the Council’s jurisdiction includes geographic characteristics that impede or slow travel, including, but not limited to, islands not connected by bridges.
Determination for number one above is up to the Council chair. Numbers two, three, and four are determined by the impacted Council member(s).
Members of the public will be provided a meaningful opportunity to attend by remote methods when members of the body participate by remote methods, and reasonable accommodations may be provided when necessary to provide access to individuals with disabilities
When the Council allows or is required to provide an opportunity for public input during a meeting, an effective means of communication between the members of the body and the public will be provided, such as access to microphone, chat feature or other methods.
Notice of the meeting will be provided as required in Section 406 of the Freedom of Access Act. When the public may attend by remote methods, the meeting notice will include the means by which members of the public may access the meeting using remote methods. For individuals with disabilities seeking a reasonable accommodation, the notice will identify the specific individual to contact about arranging for the accommodation. The notice will also identify a location for members of the public to attend in person. The Council will not determine that public attendance at a proceeding will be limited solely to remote methods except when an emergency or urgent issue exists that requires the Council to meet by remote methods.
A member of the Council who participates in a public meeting by remote methods is present for purposes of a quorum and voting.
All votes taken during a public meeting using remote methods must be taken by roll call vote that can be seen and heard if using video technology, and heard if using only audio technology, by the other members of the Council and the public.
The Council will make all documents and other materials considered by the Council available, electronically or otherwise, to the public who attend by remote methods to the same extent customarily available to members of the public who attend the proceedings of the public body in person, as long as additional costs are not incurred by the Council.