CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For years, West Virginia's Open Meetings Act has allowed state agencies, boards and commissions to call emergency meetings on a moment's notice -- but until now, it never defined what constitutes an emergency.
That changes with passage of HB2747, which spells out circumstances when emergency meetings may be called.
"It passed in the waning hours of the regular session," Ethics Commission Executive Director Joan Parker said of the legislation, which had a final passage vote on the last night of the session, April 13.
Parker said staff with the Ethics Commission worked with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office to get the legislation passed.
Under the open meetings law, boards and agencies must publish notice of meetings at least five days in advance of the meeting date, and the notice must include the date, time, location and purpose for the meeting.
Currently the law states, "In the event of any emergency requiring immediate official action, any governing body of the executive branch of the state may file an emergency meeting notice at any time prior to the meeting."
Beyond that, there was nothing in the law to define an emergency.