Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
The Tennessee Senate has passed a bill that would require governing bodies to allow a time for public comment at meetings.
Senate Bill 0551 (SB0551) is sponsored by State Senator Adam Lowe (R-Calhoun-District 1). The bill, as introduced, requires governmental entities to provide a period of public comment for public meetings. It authorizes the governmental entities to place reasonable restrictions on the period for public comment.
An amendment that would state that the new legislation would not apply to meetings in which disciplinary action was to be taken against a member of that governing body or when there were no actionable items on the agenda was withdrawn.
Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis-District 29) did question how much advance notice an individual would have to provide in order to be allowed to speak at the meetings. Lowe responded that a body can choose to require advance notice but is not required to.
The bill passed with 29 senators voting in favor of the legislation. Only Senator Charlane Oliver (D-Nashville-District 19) voted against the bill.
The companion bill passed the House on March 23 with 82 votes in favor and 6 votes against. The legislation would go into effect on July 1, 2023.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com