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Public Meetings Will Be Available Online

The public can now watch live and also view recordings of Roosevelt County Commissioners’ meetings.

The county installed new recording equipment this summer including an “Owl” recording device that scans the entire room and spotlights speakers.

Montana legislators passed House Bill 890 this year that requires agencies including the governing board of a county, the governing board of a municipality and school boards to record their public meetings.

“It doesn’t bother me one bit,” commissioner Gordon Oelkers said.

The commissioners’ meetings are available through Zoom.

“It’s a good way to do it,” Oelkers said of recording the meetings. “You get to have interaction.”

The law requires that all entities have the equipment in place by July 1, 2024.

Superintendent of schools David Perkins discussed purchasing the equipment during the Wolf Point School board meeting last month. He cautioned trustees to be careful of their comments when meetings are recorded.

The law reads, “An act providing for increased transparency and accountability in government by requiring certain government entities to record their public meetings in audio and video format; requiring those entities to make the audio and video recordings available online following the public meeting...”

The legislation notes that if a recording is not designated as the official record of the meeting, the recording may be destroyed after being retained online for one year.

A board is not required to disrupt or reschedule a meeting if there is a technological failure of the meeting recording. If the recording is not able to be made available online, the board shall prominently post a notice in the same manner as a notice of a public meeting and shall post a notice of all locations where the meeting recording links are available. The notice must explain the reason the meeting was not recorded and describe the steps taken to remedy the failure prior to the next meeting.

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