BOCC set to consider public speaking ordinance

Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 09:58 AM.

Those seeking to be placed on the agenda to speak currently are provided six minutes to speak.

Under the new ordinance, comments must be limited to the action or measure being taken up at that time by the board.

BOCC meetings over the past year have also been highlighted by public comment that has frequently not pertained to a specific issue before the board or about matters and issues that are not even within the authority of the BOCC.

Public comment during public hearings or workshops will be limited to the time period set aside for public comment.

The provisions do not apply to meetings or issues taken up due to emergency situations; official acts ministerial or ceremonial in nature; or meetings exempt from the provisions under Florida law.

The ordinance follows action by the Florida Legislature this past spring which established citizen’s rights to speak.

A Florida appellate court in 2010 ruled that while Florida’s Sunshine Law required public boards or commissions to meet in a public forum – save under specific circumstances, such as discussing litigation or union negotiating strategy – the law contained no mandate on the public’s right to speak during such meetings.

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