City of Atlanta
Georgia

Ordinance
19-O-1207
Adopted as Amended
May 6, 2019 1:00 PM

AN ORDINANCE BY COUNCILMEMBER MICHAEL JULIAN BOND AS AMENDED BY COMMITTEE ON COUNCIL TO AMEND THE CITY OF ATLANTA CODE OF ORDINANCES, PART II (ORDINANCES), CHAPTER 2 (ADMINISTRATION), ARTICLE II (COUNCIL), DIVISION 2 (MEETINGS), SUBDIVISION II (RULES OF PROCEDURE), SECTION 2-104 (REMARKS FROM PUBLIC), TO ALLOW MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC UP UNTIL THE BEGINNING OF THE PUBLIC COMMENT SECTION OF THE AGENDA TO SIGN UP TO SPEAK; TO ALLOW THE MUNICIPAL CLERK TO ACCEPT SIGN-UP FOR PUBLIC COMMENT EARLIER THAN 12:30 P.M. ON THE DAY OF THE COUNCIL MEETING; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

Information

Department:Office of the Municipal ClerkSponsors:Councilmember, Post 1 At Large Michael Julian Bond
Category:Personal PaperFunctions:None Required

Body

WHEREAS, the City Council of Atlanta encourages the participation of members of the public in the legislative process, including by making public comment at meetings of the City Council and its committees; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Council desires to make the public comment opportunity in its meetings accessible to as many members of the public as possible and to remove barriers to their participation in local democracy; and

 

WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances currently provides, in Part II, Section 2-104, that members of the public must sign up to speak before the beginning of each Full Council meeting, which is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m.; and

 

WHEREAS, per the same section, the Municipal Clerk's office is required to put out the sign-in sheet at 12:30 p.m.; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Council often hears at its Full Council Meetings several proclamations of varying length prior to the beginning of public comment, such that public comment often does not begin until as late as 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m., or even later; and

 

WHEREAS, it can be burdensome for members of the public to be at City Hall between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. to sign up to speak, then wait for an amount of time that can take an hour or more until their public comment opportunity; and

 

WHEREAS, giving members of the public longer to sign up to speak will result in the ability of more members of the public to address the City Council; and

 

WHEREAS, giving members of the public options to participate in democracy that take up less of their time will reduce barriers to participation, especially barriers faced by working people and small business owners, who have competing priorities during normal working hours;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA, as follows:

 

SECTION 1: That Part II (General Ordinances), Chapter 2 (Administration), Article II (Council), Division 2 (Meetings), Subdivision 2 (Rules of Procedure), Section 2-104 (Remarks from Pub lie), section (a), which currently reads as follows:

 

(a) The council shall only hear remarks from those individuals who sign up to speak prior to the convening of each regularly scheduled council meeting. The sign-up sheets or speaker cards will be made available to the public, by the municipal clerk, at the entrance of the council chambers or other authorized meeting location 30 minutes prior to the scheduled council meeting time; and sign up will terminate upon the convening of each meeting with the lists or cards delivered to the presiding officer at that time. Members of the public shall be allowed to speak for a maximum of two minutes. Currently serving elected officials shall be allowed to speak for a maximum of ten minutes. Former elected officials shall be allowed to speak for a maximum of six minutes.

 

Any individual may speak to the council on matters of public concern, including matters of general policy, efficiency and the conduct of city government, provided that the president may rule out of order personal, abusive or indecorous language or matters that the city has no purview over. No person shall cede his/her time to another person who has not previously signed up to speak. However, a speaker may yield his/her time to another speaker on the list; provided that the person to whom time has been yielded may be placed at the end of the speakers' list; and provided that no speaker to whom time has been yielded shall speak for more than ten minutes.

 

is hereby amended, to read as follows:

 

"(a) The council shall only hear remarks from those members of the public who sign up to speak prior to the beginning of the public comment section of each council meeting. The municipal clerk shall begin accepting individuals that wish to sign up to speak 105 minutes prior to the start of the meeting at the clerk’s office. The sign-up sheets or speaker cards shall be made available to the public, by the municipal clerk or his or her designee, at the entrance of the council chambers or other authorized meeting location at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled council meeting time; and sign up will terminate upon the beginning of the public comment section of the meeting, with the final lists or cards delivered to the presiding officer at that time. Upon request by the presiding officer prior to the beginning of public comment, the municipal clerk or his or her designee shall provide the presiding officer with sign-up sheets or cards containing the names of those persons signed up to speak so far as of that time. The municipal clerk, or his or her designee, may elect to offer one or more additional opportunities for members of the public to sign in to speak, prior to the day of the meeting. Each person shall be allowed to speak for a maximum of two minutes. Currently serving elected officials shall be allowed to speak for a maximum often minutes. Former elected officials shall be allowed to speak for a maximum of six minutes.

 

Any member of the public may speak to the council on matters of public concern, including matters of general policy, efficiency, and the conduct of city government, provided that the president may rule out of order personal, abusive, or indecorous language. No person shall cede his/her time to another person who has not previously signed up to speak. However, a speaker may yield his/her time to another speaker on the list; provided that the person to whom time has been yielded may be placed at the end of the speakers' list; provided, however, that no speaker to whom time has been yielded shall speak for more than ten minutes."

 

SECTION 2: Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of Section 1 are effective as of the date of adoption of this legislation.

 

SECTION 3: That all ordinances and parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are hereby waived to the extent of the conflict.

 

Meeting History

Apr 15, 2019 1:00 PM Video Atlanta City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON COUNCIL WITHOUT OBJECTION

RESULT:REFERRED WITHOUT OBJECTION
May 6, 2019 11:15 AM Video Committee on Council Regular Committee Meeting
draft Draft
RESULT:FAVORABLE AS AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Matt Westmoreland, Post 2 At Large
SECONDER:Jennifer N Ide, Chair
AYES:Jennifer N Ide, Natalyn Mosby Archibong, Andre Dickens, Matt Westmoreland, Antonio Brown
ABSENT:Amir R Farokhi, Cleta Winslow
May 6, 2019 1:00 PM Video Atlanta City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

ADOPTED AS AMENDED BY A ROLL CALL VOTE OF 10 YEAS; 1 NAY

RESULT:ADOPTED AS AMENDED [10 TO 1]
MOVER:Jennifer N Ide, Councilmember, District 6
SECONDER:Marci Collier Overstreet, Councilmember, District 11
AYES:Michael Julian Bond, Matt Westmoreland, Andre Dickens, Carla Smith, Antonio Brown, Jennifer N Ide, Howard Shook, JP Matzigkeit, Dustin Hillis, Marci Collier Overstreet
NAYS:Joyce M Sheperd
ABSENT:Amir R Farokhi, Cleta Winslow
AWAY:Natalyn Mosby Archibong, Andrea L Boone