Florida Senate - 2021                                    SB 1494
       By Senator Cruz
       18-00741D-21                                          20211494__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to public meetings during declared
    3         states of emergency; creating s. 252.386, F.S.;
    4         defining terms; providing for the suspension of
    5         certain statutory provisions during declared states of
    6         emergency for a specified timeframe; providing an
    7         exception; authorizing governing bodies to use
    8         communications media technology during declared states
    9         of emergency; providing that certain remote
   10         participation by a governing body member in a meeting
   11         constitutes that individual’s presence at such meeting
   12         and counts toward a quorum during the declared state
   13         of emergency; requiring meetings conducted through
   14         communications media technology to function as if they
   15         are being conducted in person; authorizing members of
   16         a governing body to attend certain meetings in person
   17         or through communications media technology; providing
   18         an effective date.
   20  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   22         Section 1. Section 252.386, Florida Statutes, is created to
   23  read:
   24         252.386 Suspension of statutory provisions during states of
   25  emergency.—
   26         (1)For purposes of this section, the term:
   27         (a)“Governing body” means the council, commission, or
   28  other board or body in which the general legislative powers of a
   29  local or regional governmental entity are vested.
   30         (b)“Local governmental entitymeans a municipality, a
   31  county, a school board, a special district, or any other local
   32  entity within the jurisdiction of one county created by general
   33  or special law or local ordinance.
   34         (c)“Regional governmental entitymeans regional planning
   35  councils, metropolitan planning organizations, water supply
   36  authorities that include more than one county, local health
   37  councils, water management districts, and other regional
   38  entities that are authorized and created by general or special
   39  law which have duties or responsibilities extending beyond the
   40  jurisdiction of a single county.
   41         (2)Any statutory provision that requires the physical
   42  presence of members to satisfy a quorum or that requires the
   43  members of a governing body to be physically present at a
   44  specified public place is suspended if a state of emergency is
   45  declared by the Governor, for a period not to exceed 6 months
   46  from the date on which the state of emergency is declared,
   47  unless the state of emergency is extended by the Governor
   48  pursuant to executive order.
   49         (a)If a county is declared to be under a state of
   50  emergency by the Governor, a governing body within that county
   51  may use communications media technology, including telephonic
   52  and video conferencing, as provided in s. 120.54(5)(b)2.
   53         (b)The participation by a member of a governing body in a
   54  meeting conducted through communications media technology as
   55  provided in paragraph (a) constitutes that members presence at
   56  such meeting and counts toward a quorum.
   57         (c)A meeting conducted through communications media
   58  technology must function as if it is being conducted in person.
   59         (d)If a meeting is conducted through communications media
   60  technology, a member of the governing body is entitled to attend
   61  the meeting by convening in person or to attend the meeting
   62  through communications media technology.
   63         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.