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Guest Opinion: Pennsylvania Sunshine Act needs a digital update

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02.07.2021

One of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 era is that more citizens want online access to local government meetings. But the Pennsylvania state law designed to make that happen is badly outdated and needs a digital overhaul.

In Perkasie, where I am a borough council member, we saw a notable increase in video views for our live and recorded Zoom and YouTube meetings during COVID-19 compared with in-person meetings held at borough hall before the pandemic. Neighboring towns probably saw the same increase.

The video meetings were held using temporary rules passed by state lawmakers to supplement the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act of 1998. The Sunshine Act doesn’t account for local government meetings that are livestreamed to digital devices.

However, during the pandemic, the temporary rules were simple. Local governments had to post advance notice online including the date, time and technology used for the meeting, and how public could comment “directly through the........

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