Democrat State Senator Veronica Klinefelt is proposing that the Open Meetings Act allow elected officials to attend and participate in meetings remotely, despite all public employees returning to work in person. 

In her co-sponsorship letter to colleagues, Klinefelt writes she is seeking changes to the Open Meetings Act, Section 3, which would allow “one or more other members” to attend a meeting electronically. 

Klinefelt’s letter to Senators follows an embarrassing move by a Minnesota lawmaker, who appeared shirtless and laying in bed when casting a vote this week. Earlier this year, a man appeared half-dressed in the background of the video feed of an Arizona county supervisor during a public meeting. 

Klinefelt’s proposal raises a few questions: First, if elected officials are at home on camera, who is sitting with them that we can’t see? And who are they communicating with off screen? Open meetings allow public officials to directly interact with the people they serve, and sitting behind a screen creates a barrier between the public and elected officials.

“As Michiganders have returned to work in person, Democrats are finding ways for elected officials to stay home from work and vote from bed”, said Michigan Freedom Fund Communications Director Mary Drabik. Drabik continued, “Those who hold public office should be held to the highest standard. Therefore, they are expected to show up to work, in person, like the rest of us, and face the public. ”