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Bill to require public comment at school board meetings heads to governor

School boards in Indiana must allow the public to comment during public meetings under a bill headed to the governor’s desk.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
School boards in Indiana must allow the public to comment during public meetings under a bill headed to the governor’s desk.

School boards in Indiana must allow the public to comment during public meetings under a bill headed to the governor’s desk.

The final bill is less restrictive than it was earlier in session.

The measure, HB 1130, is a response to a small number of school boards over the past year who refused to allow public comment, amid anger and even threats of violence that bubbled up at school boards across the country.

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.

An earlier version of the measure would’ve required school boards to give each member of the public at least three minutes to speak. But bill author Rep. Tim O’Brien (R-Evansville) said that was ultimately removed.

“So, the school board is allowed to set their parameters on time constraints,” O'Brien said.

The bill only says those boards must set “reasonable” rules for taking public comment. And they’re still allowed to take steps to “maintain order” in their meetings.

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

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.