TN Senate Passes Bill To Allow For Public Comment At Government Meetings

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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.

When Lowe was recognized, he made a motion that the Senate substitute House Bill 0448 (HB0448), sponsored by Representative Elaine Davis (R-Knoxville-District 18). This was approved.

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action was to be taken against a member of that governing body or when there were no actionable items on the agenda was withdrawn.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

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