The OML does not contain any express provisions requiring a commenter to notify the public body of his intent to speak at a public meeting. Members of the public body are prohibited from discussing or taking legal action on matters brought up during an open call unless those matters were properly noticed on the meeting agenda. SeeA.R.S. §38-431.01(H). At the conclusion of the open call, however, “individual members of the public body may respond to criticism made by those who have addressed the public body, may ask staff to review a matter or may ask that a matter be put on a future agenda.” Id.
Whenever a citizen has a statutory right to participate in a meeting, the agency can establish local rules regarding comments, as long as the citizen has a reasonable opportunity to participate. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 93-299, 93-052.
Neither Act requires a commenter to give notice of an intention to comment. However, a body may impose reasonable regulations to ensure an orderly meeting. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 11125.7(b) (Bagley-Keene Act); 54954.3(b) (Brown Act).
Georgia county commissions and city councils and like bodies, e.g., school boards, typically have rules affording a limited right of public comment at meetings. See, e.g., Cardinale v. City of Atlanta, 290 Ga. 521, 522, 722 S.E.2d 732, 734 (2012) (noting the existence of rules governing public comment at Atlanta city council meetings). The state’s Open Meetings Act does not address the issue of public comment.
No provision in the Open Meetings Act concerns public comment at meetings. Some public agencies allow public comment during designated portions of public meetings, and some of those agencies require members of the public to sign in or otherwise give advance notice of their desire to make comments.
No statutory requirement to give notice of intentions to comment, although an individual public body may make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations regarding the conduct of citizens attending or speaking at the meeting, which, if reasonable, may include the requirement that the commentator give notice of intention to comment. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-1412(2).
No. See Nevada OMLO 99-11 where the Attorney General noted that a practice of requiring persons to sign up three and one-half hours in advance to speak at a public meeting can have the effect of unnecessarily restricting public comment.
There are no specific rules on this issue. However, once a public body voluntarily establishes an open forum, it may establish the conditions and restrictions on such speech subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. 1998 OK AG 45.
The requirements would vary with the rules of the particular public body. Some public bodies require citizens to request a position on the agenda in order to address the body, while others merely have a sign-in sheet for a public comment period.
A commenter does not have to give notice of an intention to comment. Tex. Gov’t Code § 551.042; see also Peavy v. Dallas Indep. School Dist., 57 F. Supp. 2d 382, 393 (N.D. Tex. 1999) (President of school district board of trustees did not violate Texas Open Meetings Act by allowing transcript of trustee's telephone conversation, containing controversial and offensive comments, to be read during report period of school district meeting, where board had long established practice of allowing trustees to make reports, even though issue was not specifically listed on meeting's agenda); and Op. Tex. Att’y Gen. No. JC-0169 (2000) (“‘Public comment’ provides sufficient notice under the Open Meetings Act of the subject matter of ‘public comment’ sessions where the general public addresses the governmental body about its concerns and where the governmental body does not comment or deliberate except as authorized by [S]ection 551.042 of the Government Code.”).
If a member of the public inquires about a subject for which notice was not given, the governmental body may respond with specific factual information or provide information on the current policy in response to the inquiry without violating the notice provisions of the Open Meetings Act. Tex. Gov’t Code § 551.042. Any other discussion, deliberation, or decision regarding the subject matter will be limited to a proposal to place the subject on the agenda for another meeting. Id. § 551.042; Hays City Water Planning P'ship v. Hays Cnty., Tex., 41 S.W.3d 174, 181 (Tex. App.—Austin 2001, pet. denied).