Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2020, signed by Governor Baker on June 5, includes provisions explicitly authorizing representative Town Meetings to be held through teleconference technology during the COVID-19 pandemic that were co-authored by Anderson & Kreiger attorneys George Hall, Mina Makarious, and Christina Marshall. Working with Moderators and Town Clerks from Belmont, Lexington and Winchester, state representatives and senators from the three towns, and bond counsel, including Jay Gonzalez of Hinckley Allen, George, Mina and Christina presented language to the Legislature clarifying that towns with a representative Town Meeting form of government may meet and complete their business remotely while ensuring safety for participants.
Using the procedure in the legislation, Mina and Christina worked with the Town of Lexington to complete the state’s first ever remote Town Meeting earlier this week, which saw record participation by Town Meeting members and robust participation by members of the public. They are also helping the Town of Winchester run a remote Town Meeting this week. George will advise the Town of Belmont during its remote Town Meeting starting June 16. “We are very proud of our role in helping expand opportunities for participation while keeping Town Meeting members safe,” Mina said, adding that “Lexington’s smooth transition to an electronic town meeting proved that local governments continue to be at the forefront of creative solutions to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic while protecting important institutions like the traditional New England Town Meeting.”
Click here to learn more about Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2020, or contact one of the members of our public law team directly.