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Montana moves to require recording of public meetings

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

It's not that difficult.

Throughout the COVID pandemic, local and state governments figured out ways to use technology to keep their meetings open and transparent. Whether it was via Zoom, GoToMeeting or any other streaming platform, we all stayed connected and open meetings were still open meetings.

But just because COVID is over doesn't mean the transparency should end.

The bill would require county commissions, city and town councils, school district boards, and local health boards to record and make the audio and video available to the public within one business day after the meeting.

The mandate isn't coming without funding - in fact, more than $270,000 is allocated in the bill to help local governments get the equipment they need.

However, it should be noted much of this could be done with something as simple as a Zoom account for $15 per month.

There is no legal requirement for government agencies in Idaho to livestream their meetings – but perhaps there should be.

Families are busy. They don’t always have the time to show up to a council or government agency meeting and spend four hours sitting through a long agenda.

Like it or not, we live in a world run by technology. Any government agency or elected official committed to transparency should welcome the livestreaming and recording of meetings.

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