City Council Adopts Resolution to Temporarily Amend Council Rules for Public Comments Due to Physical Distancing Requirements

April 29, 2020 12:38 PM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – At its meeting last night, the Santa Monica City Council voted to adopt a resolution to temporarily amend its Rule of Order and Procedure 15 regarding public comment to reflect new procedures under which members of the public will be able to call into teleconference meetings to provide oral comment. The May 5 City Council meeting will be the first with the new procedures and the new rule. 

Here’s how it will work: 

  1. Members of the public who wish to comment on an item on the agenda can call in before or during the meeting prior to that item being heard.  
  2. A teleconference service provider will create a queue of those wishing to provide oral public comment for each item.   
  3. The queue will be closed immediately prior to the beginning of public comment, and the teleconference service provider will then draw people off the queue, opening a line to permit them to provide public comment. 

In March, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20, which allows the City Council to hold meetings via teleconference while social distancing requirements are in place. Under this order and to abide by physical distancing orders, Santa Monica Council meetings have been conducted by teleconference. Until now, public comment on agenda items at the teleconference meetings has been received in writing for distribution online up to 12 p.m. on the date of the meeting, and during the meeting to be read into the record at the appropriate time during the meeting. The new procedures outlined above will now allow oral public comment during teleconference meetings, eliminating the need for written comments to be read into the record. 

 

The amended rule reflects the new procedures:

All letters, emails and faxes regarding City Council agenda items are available for public viewing online.  Written comments are not redacted, and email addresses, physical addresses, and telephone numbers appear online as they are submitted. To provide oral public comment under the new procedures, a link will be provided when the agenda is posted at www.smgov.net/council.

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Constance Farrell
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