Calls for record preservation grow as government meetings go online

Originally published in Spectrum News on January 11, 2022.

Good-government organizations in New York are backing legislation that would require government bodies to record their meetings on video and post the recordings online. 

The bill, backed by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and state Sen. Anna Kaplan, is generating interest as more public meetings shift back to live stream events amid the spread of the contagious omicron variant of COVID-19

"Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more public bodies have been live-streaming and recording meetings, increasing access for New Yorkers, particularly those with disabilities. However, some public bodies, including legislatures, still do not live stream in-person meetings or post recordings," said the group Reinvent Albany in a bill memo of support. 'This bill will make sure that most open meetings are live-streamed, and that recordings are quickly posted for public viewing."

The move, the group said, would "update the Open Meetings Law for the 21st century." 

Many state lawmakers in Albany on Monday continued to conduct business through remote means amid visitor restrictions in effect in the Legislative Office Building. Visitors to the state Capitol must have either a negative COVID test within the last 48 hours or show proof of vaccination before entering. 

The State Education Department signaled later on Monday it would follow suit as well. Education officials announced that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test is required to enter the state museum, archives and library effective Wednesday.