By Kathleen Sloan
The City of Truth or Consequences, at their regular meeting on Tuesday, March 27, revised their “City Rules of Procedure,” and passed the new policy by resolution.
The major changes include adding a “public comment” section, so there are two – one at the beginning and one at the end of the meeting.
The first public comment is limited to items on the agenda that week. The second is limited only to city business in general. Public comment is further limited by “Rule 17.”
Herein is the rub.
Part iii says, “All comments made must be constructive and must be regarding business of the city.”
American Civil Liberties Union Managing Attorney Laura Schauer Ives contacted City Attorney Jay Rubin “the day before and the day of the meeting,” according to ACLU news media contact Micah McCoy, who spoke with The Herald on Thursday, April 5.
McCoy said Ives told Rubin that “the requirement that comment be constructive was likely unconstitutional,” because it prohibits free speech and the constituents’ right to petition elected officials, which may include negative comment.
Rubin did not tell the commissioners at the public meeting of the ACLU’s position. City commissioners passed the resolution unanimously.