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Ohio lawmakers want to allow virtual public meetings again

 Ohio Controlling Board meets virtually on May 3, 2021
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Ohio Controlling Board meets virtually on May 3, 2021

Just a day after Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced he had COVID and exposed members of the Ohio Redistricting Commissions to it, 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. Republican Sen. Bill Blessing (R-Groesbeck) says the Senate wants to allow agencies to do that again due to the Omicron surge. He says state lawmakers were talking about making this change weeks ago before members of the Ohio Redistricting Commission were exposed this past weekend.

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

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 30th. The Omicron virus is highly contagious and has been blamed for the closure of events and businesses in recent weeks.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.