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TITLE 10COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
PART 1TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS
CHAPTER 1ADMINISTRATION
SUBCHAPTER AGENERAL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
RULE §1.10Public Comment Procedures

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish procedures for hearing public comments at meetings open to the public held by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in accordance with §2306.032(f) and §2306.066(d) of the Texas Government Code.

(b) Procedures for taking public comment.

  (1) At each meeting open to the public the Board shall provide opportunity for members of the public to make:

    (A) General public comment, such as reports, recommendations, or other testimony on matters of relevance to the Department's business or to request that the Board place specific items on future agendas for consideration, after the Board has taken action on all posted agenda items on which it intends to take action. In addition to the prerogative of the chair to place reasonable limits on public comment, the Board reserves the right to limit general public comment to the extent that the comment relates to an item to be placed on or scheduled for a future Board agenda; and

    (B) Specific public comment on each posted agenda item after the presentation made by Department staff and motions made by the Board. For purposes of this rule, the Board may consider the staff's presentation to be staff's written presentation in the Board's meeting book and posted on the Department's website.

  (2) The opportunity for general public comment under paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection may not be used to advocate for or against any specific action relating to any posted item, the opportunity for any such testimony to be limited to the appointed time when action on such matter is formally considered as a posted agenda item.

  (3) At the time general or specific public comment is taken, speakers shall queue up behind the podium or other place designated for speakers. They may, if they wish, agree among themselves on an order in which they will speak. If a large number of speakers wish to testify, the chair may, in his or her reasonable discretion, establish appropriate limits on the total amount of time to be devoted to testimony on any given item or items. As each individual speaker begins his or her testimony, they must state on the record their name and on whose behalf they are speaking.

  (4) Individuals not speaking who wish to register positions for or against a posted agenda item may register their positions, for or against, with the secretary of the meeting, or another person designated by the chair, on a form, which the person wishing to register must sign, stating their name, whom they represent, the action item, and their position. At the end of the public comment on the item the chair will have registered positions for and against read into the record.

  (5) Additional limits on public comment.

    (A) The Board chair, in her/his sole discretion, may additionally limit the number and length of presentations of public comment, both general and specific, at any time during a meeting based on a consideration of:

      (i) the number of persons wishing to give public comment;

      (ii) the number of agenda items to be heard;

      (iii) the time available for the meeting; and

      (iv) the risk of losing a quorum of Board members.

    (B) If the Board chair limits presentations, she or he will not limit them in a manner that inappropriately favors a particular point of view.

    (C) The Board chair may, in her or his reasonable discretion, grant deference to elected officials and other persons who have traveled great distances.

  (6) Presenting printed materials. An individual providing testimony to the Board may provide printed materials only if they are provided as outlined in subparagraphs (A) - (C) of this paragraph:

    (A) In order to ensure that members of the Board and the public are given an opportunity to review any such materials, they must be provided to the Department staff not less than five (5) business days prior to the meeting at which they are to be used. This is to enable staff to post them on the Department's website not later than the third day before the date of the meeting, as provided for in Texas Government Code, §2306.032(c). They must be made available in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) electronic format;

    (B) Department staff will post such materials to the Department's website no later than the third day before the meeting at which they are to be used;

    (C) In exceptional circumstances the chair may, in her/his sole discretion, and only after giving Board members an opportunity to object, allow materials to be provided at a meeting in hard copy format provided:

      (i) they are delivered to staff prior to the start of the meeting so that staff may log in the materials and the chair may review for acceptance under this subsection. Materials may not be handed directly by the public to a Board member on the dais;

      (ii) they are not so voluminous as to cause inordinate delay while members of the Board and public review them;

      (iii) they are provided in hard copy format to all members of the public in attendance; and

      (iv) they are also provided to staff in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format for inclusion in the electronic records of Board materials available to the public via the Department's website.

  (7) Persons seeking allowance of written materials under paragraph (6)(C) of this subsection should be aware that their proffered materials may be disallowed, and they should always be prepared to proceed with a verbal presentation within the time constraints for public speaking at Board meetings.


Source Note: The provisions of this §1.10 adopted to be effective May 3, 2012, 37 TexReg 3073; amended to be effective February 16, 2014, 39 TexReg 623

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