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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio lawmakers want to allow virtual public meetings again

 Ohio Controlling Board meets virtually on May 3, 2021 [Ohiochannel /  Ohiochannel]
Ohio Controlling Board meets virtually on May 3, 2021

A day after Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced he had COVID-19 and may have exposed members of the Ohio Redistricting Commissions to it over the weekend, lawmakers are taking action to allow state agencies and boards to conduct remote meetings again.

State agencies were allowed to meet virtually until last summer when boards and commissions went back to in-person meetings.

Sen. Bill Blessing (R-Groesbeck) says the Senate wants to allow agencies to do that again due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases. He says state lawmakers were talking about making this change weeks ago.

“Even really before anything on redistricting took place, we were discussing doing this because of the spike in omicron cases,” Blessing said.

Blessing says the House is also working to allow the change. The intent is to pass it this week so boards and commissions can meet remotely through June 30.

The omicron variant is highly contagious and has been blamed for the closure of events and businesses in recent weeks.

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