Can we limit the total time for public comment at our city council meetings to 30 minutes, and each commenter to 3 minutes?
Yes, so long as the city council has adopted rules for public comment. In a number of advisory opinions, the Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General's Office upheld similar time limitations on public comment. The PAC cautioned, however, that in order to restrict public comment in any way, the public body must have approved public comment rules. Having a long-standing practice of limiting the time frame for public comment is not sufficient to satisfy the requirement of approved rules, according to the PAC. So, if your public body has routinely placed restrictions on public comment (time limits, sign-ins, etc), it should adopt rules for public comment to incorporate those practices.
Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf