You know how most city council meetings have an item on the agenda for "public comment?" That's the time when they allow residents to get up and share their opinion/perspective on a given issue. In most every city council meeting, you can show up, sign in, and be granted a few minutes to speak on the topic at hand. Pretty cool, right? Our city government actually setting aside time to hear from the public on matters that will affect them.
Well, our state government doesn't really do that. There isn't a provision in the state legislature's operating procedures that allows for public comment during committee hearings. The committee chair can invite individuals to share their thoughts on the subject, but there isn't a dedicated time for public comment on the agenda.
But what if there was?
What if there was an easier way for the public to share our thoughts and opinions directly to the state House & Senate committees regarding the bills they're reviewing? Many other states do this already. Some states allow comments in person while others have an online tool, but either way the public comments are heard. The comments of the people, both in favor and against, would be part of the history of that legislation.
We think that'd be great, and here's what we're doing about it.
We've drafted a letter to all committee chairs requesting that they schedule a short period of time - even just 10 minutes - for public comment during each committee meeting. We're asking other organizations, elected officials, and constituents who think this is a good and worthy idea to add their names to the letter.
If this is something you support - this crazy idea that maybe the public should be able to share our opinion about legislation directly to the committees that are voting on it - please complete the form below to add your name to the list!
- Amnesty OKC
- CAIR Oklahoma
- OKC AIDS Coalition
- Generation Citizen Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice
- Oklahoma Parents & Educators for Public Education
- Oklahoma Policy Institute
- Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes
- Representative Jason Dunnington
- Representative Cyndi Munson
- Senator David Holt
Plus more than 100 individual registered voters!