(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), members of a governmental body as defined in Section 36-25A-2, that is comprised of members from two or more counties, may participate in a meeting of that governmental body by means of telephone conference, video conference, or other similar communications equipment which allows all persons participating in the meeting to hear each other at the same time. Participation by such means shall constitute presence in person at the meeting for all purposes, except for the establishment of a quorum.
(b) Every meeting shall have one physical location available for persons wishing to be physically present, at which any interested member of the public shall be able to hear all persons who are participating remotely, and that location shall be published in a manner consistent with this chapter.
(c) Utilization of electronic communication shall be done in a manner that complies with this chapter and allowing members of the public to be present at the physical location required by subsection (b) is sufficient for compliance with this chapter and the electronic communication does not have to be otherwise made available to members of the public.
(d) The members of the following governmental bodies are prohibited from participating in meetings and deliberation via electronic communications as otherwise authorized by this section: The Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Public Service Commission, standing committees of the Legislature while the Legislature is in session, a governing board taking any action under the Students First Act of 2011, any state board or agency acting in any quasi judicial capacity involving employment actions or the promulgation of rules pursuant to statutory authority, any state board, agency, or other governmental body conducting a hearing which could result in loss of licensure or professional censure, and the Alabama Ethics Commission.
(e) Any other provision of this section to the contrary notwithstanding, a majority of a quorum of the members participating in any given meeting shall be physically present at the location noticed and called for the meeting in order to conduct any business or deliberation, and only those members who are physically present may participate in an executive session of the governmental body.
(f) Any vote taken at a meeting utilizing the equipment contemplated by subsection (a) shall be taken as a roll call vote that allows each participant to vote individually in a manner audible to all persons participating or present at the physical location provided for in subsection (b).
(g) No member utilizing this section shall claim any form of reimbursement for expenses, including mileage and per diem.
(h) Any governmental body with specific statutory or constitutional authority to meet via electronic means under a procedure different than that set forth in this section may continue to operate under the requirements of that specific authority or may adopt a resolution opting to come under the requirements of this section.