Legislation authored by State Rep. Tim O’Brien (R-Evansville) would ensure Hoosiers’ voices are heard by requiring state and local government bodies to allow time for public comments at all open meetings.
“While we haven’t seen this in the district I represent, it has become an issue at some school board meetings throughout Indiana as they recently shut down any public comment time,” O’Brien said. “Hoosiers deserve their voices to be heard, especially when it comes to their children’s education.”
O’Brien’s bill would require government bodies, including school boards, city councils and township boards, to allow for oral testimony from members of the public physically present at a meeting. Executive session meetings, which are closed to the public under certain rules, would be excluded.
“Public input is vital and Hoosiers must be able to voice their opinions on matters impacting them and their communities,” O’Brien said. “While we might not always agree with each other and we may not like what we are hearing, silencing the public is not the solution.”
O’Brien said governing bodies would still be able to adopt rules for oral public comment, such as setting time limits, and take reasonable steps to maintain order in meetings, like removing a disruptive person.