January 19, 2022

School boards forced to allow public comment under House bill


Article origination Indiana Public Media
Local school boards in Indiana would be required to provide at least three minutes per person of public comment under a House bill. - Barbara Anguiano/IPB News

Local school boards in Indiana would be required to provide at least three minutes per person of public comment under a House bill.

Barbara Anguiano/IPB News

Listen to the broadcast version of this story.

Local school boards will be forced to take public comment by a bill approved by an Indiana House committee Wednesday.

The measure, HB 1130, requires at least three minutes per person of public testimony at every in-person meeting. That's more time than committee chairs at the General Assembly sometimes allow for particularly busy hearings.

The original bill would have required public comment at meetings of the governing body of any state or local public agency, like city and county councils.

READ MORE: As groups organize against social emotional learning in schools, educators call for civility


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.


But a change in committee limited the bill to just school board meetings. Bill author Rep. Tim O’Brien (R-Evansville) said it’s good public policy.

“This allows for the school board to take reasonable steps to maintain order in their meetings, including the removal of any person who is willfully disruptive in the meeting,” O'Brien said.

Contentious school board meetings over the last year saw some boards limit or restrict public comments.

No one from the public testified on the bill. It passed unanimously, now heading to the full House.

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

Copyright 2022 Indiana Public Media. To see more, visit Indiana Public Media.
Support independent journalism today. You rely on WFYI to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Donate to power our nonprofit reporting today. Give now.

 

Related News

Indiana's $75M interest-free 'career accelerator' loan program growing despite 'hurdles'
What do Hoosiers need to know about Indiana’s taxation of student loan forgiveness?
Additional funding proposed for city budget to help pay for post-secondary education in Indianapolis