Friday, January 2, 2009

How It Works In Helena

Mayor Stebbins is trying hard to limit the public's opportunity to participate in a public meeting tentatively scheduled for January 12.

Commissioner Jolley was not comfortable with her remark about when and how the public could comment at this meeting by referencing what is done at the Legislature in Helena:

From: Mary Jolley
To: Dona Stebbins, Jordan Love, John Rosenbaum, Bill Bronson, Bill Beecher, George Golie, Lee Ebeling, John Gilbert, Robert Pancich, Bill Ryan
CC: Greg Doyon, Coleen Balzarini, JoAnn Thares:

RE: Comment in the Helena Legislature
Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2009 16:16:27 +0000

As to the Mayor’s take on Comment in the Helena Legislature:

“Perhaps a limited time comment forum at the conclusion of the meeting? (20-25 minutes or so, with a designated speaker or two - as is customary at the Legislature?)” Dona (in an email)

Public Comments in Helena are limited because there are only 24 hours in a day. Committees of the House and Senate meet at set times and have to conduct their business in between the times the Full Senate and Full House meet on their respective floors at times that are regularly scheduled.

In committees through which all bills must pass (normally) the time constraints on public comment are dictated by how much time there is before Full session meetings and meal time. The more time there, is the more public comment allowed.

The Committee chairs do not dictate who may speak. Lobbyists often arrange among themselves an order of speakers to cover their points. At any time a “civilian,” unaffiliated person my jump in front of lobbyists to comment.

Chairs request that persons not repeat what another has said but do encourage persons to get on the record that they are in agreement with a previous speaker.

As our meeting will start at 5;30 and we have no other business to conduct I think we should have lots of time for public comment. Fine examples of recent hearings in Great Falls that went well into the night are the County Hearings on zoning, the draft Hearings for the EIS and the meetings held in regards to the South Arterial.

Mary Jolley


Anonymous said...

Clark & Lewie’s closes at 12:00, don't want to keep them waiting for you know who.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the mayor is tired of listening to idiots. I am.