Hennepin County Rules of Public Participation
The Hennepin County Rules of Public Participation govern public participation at meetings of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, Hennepin County Regional Rail Authority (HCRRA), and Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). These rules govern all aspects of public participation at meetings, as well as decorum for members of the public that attend meetings.
The purposes of the rules of public participation are:
- To ensure the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, HCRRA, and HRA can conduct its business in a transparent and effective manner;
- To ensure that members of the public who attend meetings can be heard in a fair, impartial manner;
- To ensure that meetings are conducted in a way that is open to all viewpoints, yet free from abusive, distracting or intimidating behavior; and
- To ensure that the rules governing public participation at meetings are understood by persons attending the meetings.
General rules of decorum for meetings
Members of the public attending meetings of the county board, HCRRA, and HRA, including any meeting of a committee of the board, board briefings, and public hearings shall not engage in any of the following activities during a meeting:
- Shouting, chanting, disruptive behavior, clapping, stamping of feet, whistles, use of a bull horn or similar demonstrations;
- Speaking out of turn or making remarks when not recognized by the chair of the board or presiding officer at the meeting;
- Use of profanity, personal attacks, or threats of violence; or
- Any other behavior that disrupts the orderly conduct of the meeting.
Placards, banners and signs
These are not permitted in the county board room. Such placards, banners, or signs are allowed outside the glass partition of the county board room as long as they are held in a manner such that they do not obstruct the view of any person or impede the free flow of movement by any other person at the meeting. When meetings are not held in the county board room, such signs are only allowed in the back of the room in which the board is meeting as long as they are held in a manner such that they do not obstruct the view of any person or impede the free flow of movement by any other person at the meeting.
Rules of decorum for public comments at meetings
Public comments at county board, HCRRA, and HRA meetings are only allowed when authorized. The following rules apply to public comments:
- Pursuant to county board resolution, members of the public are invited to address the county board on days when committees meet.
- Open forum will be held before the first committee meeting is called to order. Committees generally meet every-other Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. See the board meeting calendar for committee meeting dates.
- In-person comments will be heard first, followed by recorded remarks. Open forum will conclude after all remarks are heard or at the 30 minute time limit for open forum — whichever comes first. It is at the discretion of the committee chair to extend public comment during open forum.
- Open forum will not be part of the broadcast meeting, but comments will be retained as part of the meeting record. You may need to refresh your browser if watching the meeting online to see the start of the meeting. If there is not enough time to play all comments during open forum, recordings will be sent to commissioners.
- Speakers will be limited to two minutes for remarks during open forum.
- You may make comments in person or via recording.
- To record a comment for open forum, call 612-348-3100 and leave a voicemail message between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. every Monday.
For comments to be included in open forum, both in-person and recorded messages will need to meet the following standards:
- Remarks should be limited to topics that are relevant to Hennepin County.
- Participants will need to state their first and last name for the record.
- Participants will need to adhere to the rules of decorum as outlined in our posted guidance for addressing the board.
- Comments must be kept to 2-minutes or less.
On occasion there may be other opportunities for the public to address the county board, HCRRA or HRA. On these occasions the rules of decorum governing public hearings apply.
Enforcement of the rules
- If an individual (or individuals) violates the rules of decorum, the chair of the county board or presiding officer at the meeting will request that the individual(s) who is violating a rule cease the violation;
- If the violation continues, the chair of the county board or presiding officer will warn the individual(s) that if the behavior violating the rules does not stop, he/she/they will be required to leave the meeting room;
- If the individual(s) does not stop the behavior violating the rules and/or leave the meeting room as directed by the chair or the presiding officer, the chair of the county board or presiding officer in his or her discretion may request security to remove the individual(s) from the meeting room;
- The chair of the county board or presiding officer may recess the meeting to allow security to remove individual(s) and restore order.