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Legislature Approves Revised Sign-In Form for Public Speaking at Legislative Meetings

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> Legislature Approves Revised Sign-In Form for Public Speaking at Legislative Meetings

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Legislature Approves Revised Sign-In Form for Public Speaking at Legislative Meetings

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Legislature, by a vote of 11-3 (Legislators Peter Stein, Jim Dennis, and Will Burbank voted no), approved a matter of legislative procedure, amending the so-called “blue card” that must be completed and submitted by those wishing to speak during public privilege of the floor at Legislature meetings. Changes to the form make stating one’s last name and municipality of residence optional. The Legislature in recent weeks has been urged to revise the form, by individuals who have said they do not feel safe publicly stating their name and place of residence when addressing the Legislature.

The matter was the focus of considerable discussion, Government Operations Chair Dan Klein, whose committee forwarded the resolution, saying that he personally had not been eager about the proposed change, but decided to support it in light of what he termed the “outpouring” of people who urged it, and others to whom he had reached out, who supported the modifications.

Legislators also approved an amendment, advanced by Legislator Martha Robertson, requiring speakers to list their county of residence. They failed to approve another proposed amendment that would have required people to list their last name. Legislator Jim Dennis, who advanced that unsuccessful amendment, said it seemed unrealistic to assume anonymity in speaking in a meeting that is streamed and televised. Legislator Anna Kelles said that the purpose is to allow people an opportunity to address the Legislature in a way that they feel comfortable, while continuing to outline rules of engagement that all support. The committee will continue to review the form, including additional revised language proposed by Legislator Dooley Kiefer.