Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government Monthly Quiz

True or False: Emergency ordinances can outline procedures for emergency meetings of a city or town council.

Answer: True
The statement raises two issues: emergency ordinances and emergency meetings. First, emergency ordinances are permitted by SC Code Section 5-7-250(d), may be passed on a single reading, and require the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of council members present. An emergency ordinance automatically expires on the 61st day after adoption.

Second, emergency meetings of council are permitted under SC Code Section 30-4-80(a), which provides that the requirement to post notice and an agenda 24 hours before ordinary meetings "does not apply to emergency meetings of public bodies." Such emergency meetings must be limited to matters pertaining to the emergency.

Combining these two provisions, councils may call an emergency meeting for the purpose of adopting an emergency ordinance. Furthermore, the emergency ordinance may provide methods by which council will continue to meet during the emergency period, including the right of council to participate in such meetings by phone or other electronic means.

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