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RULE §1.4Public Access to Commission Meetings

(a) Purpose. This section provides policies and procedures governing public access to the commission in order to facilitate that access and maximize public participation in the decision-making process, while ensuring orderly and effective conduct of meetings.

(b) Posted agenda items. A person may speak before the commission on any matter on a posted agenda by submitting a request, in a form and manner as prescribed by the department, prior to the matter being taken up by the commission. A person speaking before the commission on an agenda item will be allowed an opportunity to speak:

  (1) prior to a vote by the commission on the item; and

  (2) for a maximum of three minutes, except as provided in subsection (g)(6) of this section.

(c) New agenda items.

  (1) A person may request the addition of an item to the commission agenda by submitting, no less than 20 days prior to the date which has been set for the next meeting, the following information:

    (A) the name and address of the person making the request;

    (B) a clear and concise statement of the subject of the proposed agenda item; and

    (C) a brief summary of the action sought.

  (2) If the chair determines that the proposed item is within the jurisdiction of the department and that the proposed item concerns a matter in which there is sufficient public interest to warrant consideration by the commission as an agenda item, the chair may place the matter on the posted agenda for the next or a subsequent meeting, consistent with available time.

(d) Open comment period.

  (1) At the conclusion of the posted agenda of each regular business meeting the commission will allow an open comment period, not to exceed one hour, to receive public comment on any other matter that is under the jurisdiction of the department.

  (2) A person desiring to appear under this subsection must complete a registration form, as provided by the department, prior to the beginning of the open comment period.

  (3) Except as provided in subsection (g)(6) of this section, each person will be allowed to speak for a maximum of three minutes for each presentation in the order in which he or she registered.

(e) Disability accommodation. Persons with disabilities who have special communication or accommodation needs and who plan to attend a meeting may contact the person or office specified in the notice of the meeting. Requests should be made at least three working days before a meeting. The department will make every reasonable effort to accommodate these needs.

(f) Notice. For each commission meeting an agenda will be filed with the Office of the Secretary of State in accordance with the requirements of the Open Meetings Act, Government Code, Chapter 551.

(g) Conduct and decorum. The commission will receive public input as authorized by this section, subject to the following guidelines.

  (1) Questioning of those making presentations will be reserved to commissioners and the department's administrative staff.

  (2) Organizations, associations, or groups are encouraged to present their commonly held views, and same or similar comments, through a representative member where possible.

  (3) Presentations shall remain pertinent to the issue being discussed.

  (4) A person who disrupts a meeting must leave the meeting room if ordered to do so by the chair.

  (5) Time allotted to one speaker may not be reassigned to another speaker.

  (6) The time allotted for presentations or comments under this section may be increased or further limited by the chair, or, in the chair's absence, the acting chair, as may be appropriate to assure opportunity for the maximum number of persons to appear.

(h) Waiver. Subject to the approval of the chair, a requirement of this section may be waived in the public interest if necessary for the performance of the responsibilities of the commission or the department.

Source Note: The provisions of this §1.4 adopted to be effective February 23, 1993, 18 TexReg 890; amended to be effective January 8, 2004, 29 TexReg 226; amended to be effective October 18, 2007, 32 TexReg 7298; amended to be effective December 10, 2009, 34 TexReg 8793; amended to be effective May 17, 2012, 37 TexReg 3604; amended to be effective August 17, 2016, 41 TexReg 6086

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