The Amarillo City Council last night discussed its public comment plan for City Council meetings.
Under the plan, persons interested in speaking may fill out a form from the city secretary or fill out a form online. Forms must be turned in at least 30 minutes prior to the meeting.
Councilmembers may not respond to any issue not listed on the agenda. Those inquiries must be directed toward the city manager or city staff.
A list of rules have also been approved for speakers at City Council meetings. Those rules include:
• Shouting, unruly behavior, distracting side conversations, or speaking out when another person is talking.
• Defamation, intimidation, personal affronts, profanity, or threats of violence.
• Audible use of phones, pagers, radios, computers or other electronic equipment.
• Use of noisemakers or sound amplification devices.
• Booing, hissing, foot stomping, parading, whistling, singing or other similar behavior that impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of the meeting.
• No placards, banners, or signs will be permitted in the meeting room during a City Council meeting. Exhibits, displays, and visual aids used in connection with presentations to the City Council, however, are permitted. Visual aids presented by a member of the public will not be broadcast over cable television or internet unless requested by the presiding officer.
• No food or drink other than bottled water will be allowed in the meeting room during a City Council meeting.
Enforcement of the rules will include:
• The presiding officer will request that a person who is violating a rule cease the violation.
• If the violation continues, the presiding officer will warn the person that he or she will be required to leave the meeting room if the violation continues.
• If the violation continues, the presiding officer will order the person to leave the meeting room.
• If the person does not leave the meeting room, the presiding officer may order any police officer at the meeting to remove the person from the meeting room.
• It is unlawful for any person to intentionally or knowingly resist removal from a meeting room by a police officer in the course of enforcing these rules.
City of Amarillo spokesperson Jesse Patton said that the rules are not a change from what is currently practiced at City Council meetings and is a continuation of the previous Council's rules.