CAMPBELL COUNTY, TN. (WLAF)- A new state law will impact the written agendas for many governmental meetings.
Effective next month, city councils, county commissions and boards of mayor and aldermen will be required to provide the public with an agenda that “reasonably describes” the business to be conducted at the legislative body’s next meeting. This must be provided within 48 hours of the meeting and “made available to the public at no charge,” according to the law as enacted.
Currently, the law doesn’t apply to boards of education, planning/ zoning commissions or state boards.
With the passage of this law, the sections titled “old” and “new” business should be eliminated with the detailed descriptions of proposed actions taking those spots.
Supplemental documents such as proposed ordinances, proposed contracts, proposed resolutions, written staff recommendations, reports and items to be distributed to members of the governing body, must also be available to the public.
Copies of the supplemental documents must be provided to a citizen, at no charge, if requested, the law said. Copies must also be accessible at the meeting.
The law does give the legislative bodies the option to publish these documents on its website.
Governing bodies will still be able to take up matters not listed on the agendas as long as they stay within the bylaws, rules and state laws under which they operate, according to the law.
There is also a new public comment law on the books.
This law requires a governing body to reserve a period for public comment on items related to agenda matters.
While some governing bodies have allowed time for public comment, there was not a law requiring it.
As the law now requires that time be allotted, it also did place stipulations on the comment time.
The governing body can place “reasonable restrictions” on the comment time that includes how long the citizen can speak, the number of speakers and the length of time per speaker.
Those who want to speak may be required to provide advance notice to the governing body.
Within the published meeting notice, citizens must be given instructions on how to reserve time in the comment portion of the meeting.
The law requires the governing body ensure that opposing views of the topic are fairly represented.
(WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 6/14/2023- 6AM)