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Ohio House Passes Legislation Allowing Higher Education Trustees to Attend Meetings Electronically

May 13, 2020
Susan Manchester News

COLUMBUS – State Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) today announced the passage of House Bill 404, which permits boards of trustees of state institutions of higher education to adopt policies that allow trustees to attend board meetings electronically. The measure is joint-sponsored with State Rep. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland).

"In addition to providing safe social distancing, this bipartisan legislation will increase flexibility and help reduce costs for trustees,” said Manchester. “I thank my House colleagues for their timely support of House Bill 404.”

The legislation specifies the following should a state institution of higher education choose to adopt their own electronic communication policy:

- A trustee must attend no less than 50 percent of regular meetings in person each year
- One third of the trustees must be present in person at the meeting location
- All votes must be taken by roll call at the meeting
- A trustee who is virtually attending the meeting must notify the chairperson of that intent at least 48 hours before the meeting, except in the case of a declared emergency
- A trustee who is virtually attending the meeting is considered to be present at the meeting, is counted for purposes of establishing a quorum, and may vote at the meeting

“Every board is different,” added Manchester. “The goal of this legislation is to provide basic guidelines for each board to determine if they want to make their policies more specific or adopt a policy at all.”

H.B. 404 now heads to the Senate for consideration.