Remote meetings extended another two years

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey has signed legislation that will extend the ability for cities and towns to hold remote meetings for another two years.

The extension was part of a nearly $400 million bond bill passed by state lawmakers last week.

Healey signed the bill on Wednesday, March 29, according to press release sent by her office.

The supplemental bond bill will provide resources to the state’s family shelter system, and ensures that Massachusetts can continue to offer all children free school meals through the end of the academic year, the release states.

It also extends the option for remote meetings until the end of March 2025.

Cities and towns have been able to host remote or hybrid meetings since the onset of the pandemic, but the special legislation was set to expire at the end of the week.

The option has been used by every town on Martha’s Vineyard. Some boards and commissions, like the Edgartown Select Board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, still have fully remote meetings. Others, like the Oak Bluffs Select Board, have adopted a hybrid format, allowing board members to meet in person, with the option for the public to chime in through a live video feed.

Cape and Islands State Sen. Julian Cyr – a supporter of the legislation – says that hybrid meetings have provided more transparency for municipal government, and have also allowed for broader participation. Local boards and committees can often be run mostly by retirees with more time on their hands, but young adults and families have been able to participate on boards and committees remotely.

“Among the silver linings of the pandemic, it has forced us to think differently about how we interact and meet with people,” Cyr said. “Hybrid public meetings have proven to be a useful tool. It increases public participation.”

Cyr says that remote meetings have also given local media more flexibility covering governments.

Island house representative Dylan Fernandes told the Times earlier this month that he was supportive of the measure, also saying that it increased participation in local government.


  1. This makes democracy way to easy to participate in.
    This is how we end up with Liberals running the show.

  2. Why are taxpayers paying for every kid in the school to have free meals!! That’s insane. If you can’t feed your kid you shouldn’t have brought them into this world!

    • One because it eliminates the stigma associated with a kid getting a free meal and others not. Second it ensures that no kid goes hungry, and it’s not something they have to think about so they can focus on their studies. Sometimes a school meal is the healthiest thing a kid will eat all day. It’s the right thing to do for our future generation!

    • Wow. There are a million reasons why a kid would need free lunch. Maybe they are neglected, maybe the family is too poor. Why take it out on children? I won’t go into accidental pregnancy and making a decision to keep a child or not. I know a lot of people want to preserve life but not nurture it as well.

    • John– Tell that to the people who support laws that offer no exceptions for abortion.
      But aside from that, I read some of the right wing media publications and occasionally listen to right wing radio.
      According to them, hard working patriots who don’t use any kind of birth control, because god decides who gets born, had always had faith that they could feed their kids. But all that changed when “Brandon” stole the election and raised the price of everything and completely ruined the economy.
      Suddenly, those nice white Christians with 6 god given kids are having a hard time feeding them all. And we wouldn’t want mom to go out and work with all those kids would we ? It can get especially hard since inflation is totally out of control and the $7.25 minimum wage has not been raised in 14 years. It’s not just lazy poor people that are becoming food insecure.

      And, of course no one will be forcing anyone’s kids to eat all that healthy food.
      Any parent is free to slap processed roast beef, salami and american “cheese food” on a few slices of wonderbread with a generous portion of full fat mayonnaise, throw in a few bags of cheese puffs and artificially flavored Doritos, along with a 16 oz coke, and the kid’s all set.

      And we also know 2 things:
      1) kids learn more when they are well fed.

      2) a hungry man is an angry man.

      And don’t worry, it only cost about $110 million– or slightly less than 2 tenth’s of one percent of Ma’s annual budget.
      We spend more on the probation department.
      It’s not going to break you..

    • It is not about bringing kids into the world, it is about making sure that the one’s who are here are dealt with in a civilized manner.

      What is really important is to stop wasting money on school busses.
      If you can’t walk your kid to school you shouldn’t have brought them into this world!

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