militarySPRINGFIELD – Military service members on active duty status who represent part of a public body – such as a village board, school district or township –may soon be allowed to attend meetings remotely, thanks to a new measure passed by State Senator Mike Porfirio.

“It is our duty to create a more inclusive and adaptable environment for all members of our community, especially those who selflessly serve in the military,” said Porfirio (D-Lyons Township), a member of the Navy Reserve. “This legislation reflects our commitment to ensuring service members on active duty status can participate in discussions and decisions that impact our communities and the people they have dedicated their lives to protecting.”

Currently, a majority of the members of any public body choose to allow another member to attend remotely in cases of illness, disability, employment related to the business of the public body, a family emergency or unforeseen child care obligations.

The proposed measure aims to include military service members on active duty status among the exceptions eligible for remote attendance at meetings if the cause of their absence is their performance of military duty. This addition recognizes the unique challenges faced by those serving in the military and seeks to provide a flexible framework that accommodates their service commitments without obstructing their ability to participate in civic responsibilities.

“We recognize the vast sacrifices of our service members on active duty status,” said Porfirio. “By removing these barriers and ensuring they have the opportunity to actively engage in civic matters, we’re acknowledging the invaluable contributions of the men and women who defend our nation.”

Senate Bill 2665 passed the Executive Committee on Wednesday and moves to the full Senate for further consideration.