SECTION 1. Notwithstanding chapter 39 of the General Laws, or any general or special law or charter provision to the contrary, the town of Wayland may hold annual and special town meetings with voters located in a common, physical location, fully remote or partially remote, to be known as a hybrid town meeting.
SECTION 2. Prior to holding a fully remote or hybrid town meeting, as authorized under section 1, the select board shall appoint a committee to gather information and present a proposed plan to hold such a meeting. The committee shall include but not be limited to: (i) the moderator;(ii) a member of the select board; (iii) the town clerk: and (iv) no fewer than 4 registered voters of the town. Such committee shall be subject to the open meeting laws, public records laws and conflict of interest laws, and shall hold no fewer than 2 public hearings prior to presentation of the plan to the select board at a special meeting, which hearings and special meeting shall be noticed by posting for 2 weeks on the town website a highly visible notice setting forth the time, date and place of the hearing and special meeting. The plan shall include information describing the technology to be used, the protections embedded therein to ensure that only registered voters can participate and that the votes will be secure.
SECTION 3. Following approval of the proposed plan by the select board, the committee shall provide such assistance to the moderator as may be needed to design and implement a testing plan for the remote technology; provided, however, that no remote or hybrid town meeting may be held under this act until the moderator and select board have successfully conducted a mock hybrid town meeting of at least 100 voters.
SECTION 4. Any town meeting held remotely or in hybrid form in accordance with this act shall be recorded and the recording shall be made available for public viewing on the town’s website for no fewer than 30 days following the conclusion of the meeting. The recording shall also be a permanent record of the town, subject to disclosure upon request.
SECTION 5. All actions taken at a remote or hybrid town meeting held in accordance with this act shall be ratified, validated and confirmed to the same extent as if the town meeting had been conducted entirely in person.
SECTION 6. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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