Gone are the days of not local governmental entities deciding whether they would like to hear from the public or not. As of September 1st, everyone has the ability to address the governing body regarding an item on the agenda either before or during the consideration of the item.
What that means is that if a person has something to say about a particular item, they can raise their hand and vocalize their opinion on the matter. To prevent a person from speaking would be a violation of the act.
Now the body can adopt reasonable rules regarding the public’s right to address them including placing a time limit.
But, perhaps one of the changes that could have greater effect, they cannot prohibit criticism of the governmental body. This includes criticism of an act, omission, policy, procedure, program or service.
HB was authored by Representative Terry Canales (D), Representative Robert Guerra (D), Representative Ryan Guillen (D), and Representative Richard Raymond (D).
To date not much has been changed on local agendas but the ability to speak and address local elected officials during their meetings has been granted to the people.