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Legislation to require public comment at school board meetings nears finish line

Ethan Burks/WFIU, WTIU
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Margaret Menge was escorted out of the MCCSC co-lab building by a school resource officer after she refused to wear a mask at school board meeting last August.

Legislation to force school boards to give the public a chance to comment at their meetings is nearing the finish line.

Language in SB 83 unanimously approved by the House Monday is very simple: any public or charter school board must allow “oral public comment” on any agenda item at its meetings.

And Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) said the comment must come before or during the board’s discussion of that agenda item.

“There are some school boards where they’ll take public action and then allow the public to testify, which really kind of negates any ability for them to have any thoughts at all,” Behning said.

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues. Trying to follow along with our coverage of the legislative session? We've compiled all the stories our reporters have published by bill number and topic here.

There’s a similar bill, HB 1130, making its way through the Senate. The two chambers have a couple weeks left this session to decide which version they’ll advance to the governor.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2022 IPB News. To see more, visit .

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.