A guide: How to participate in local government meetings
Exploring local government agendas is as easy as surfing the internet, and voicing support or displeasure is as easy as showing up to the City Council and County Commission meetings.
You, too, can be a local government watchdog.
Development, public works, public safety and sometimes-controversial projects are discussed out in the open, or where the “sausage is made.”
But it’s not unusual to see nearly empty county or city hall chambers.
Exploring agendas is as easy as surfing the internet, and voicing support or displeasure is as easy as showing up to the meetings.
And those not able to attend or livestream meetings need not to worry — they’re also available for future viewing.
But those who show up are reminded to take off sunglasses and hats before addressing the governing bodies, to not repeat themselves and to practice decorum.
Examples of disruptive conduct include, without limitation, yelling, stamping of feet, whistles, applause, heckling, name calling, use of profanity, personal attacks, physical intimidation, threatening use of physical force, assault, battery, or any other acts intended to impede the meeting or infringe on the rights of the Henderson City Council, City staff, or meeting participants,” that city writes in its agendas.
Boulder City writes: “No person, other than members of the City Council and the person who has the floor, shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the Council without the permission of the Mayor or Presiding Officer.”
Nevada’s open meeting law requires the agendas be posted to the cities’ websites days before each gathering.
There are two public comment portions.
At the start of each meeting, participants can discuss anything that’s on the agenda. Toward the end, they are typically given three minutes to discuss anything of their choosing, although the elected officials typically do not respond.
Certain discussions also have individual public comment opportunities. Items in the consent agenda are approved or denied by a single vote with no discussion unless a council member pulls it aside for further debate.
Lawmakers can also remove or delay agenda items at the beginning of each meeting.
City of Las Vegas
— Meeting time: 9 a.m. first and third Wednesday of every month.
— Location: Las Vegas City Hall, 495 S. Main St. (validated parking available at adjacent garage).
— Public comment: Speaker cards or email.
— Agendas: click here.
Meetings are streamed live on YouTube or KCLV TV. They’re also available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and the “Go-Vegas” app. Recordings are posted on the agenda shortly after the meetings end.
KCLV Channel 2 broadcasts the meetings at 8 p.m. that day, 4 a.m. the following Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. Sunday or 5 p.m. the following Monday.
— Meeting time: 9 a.m. the first and third Tuesday of every month.
— Location: Clark County Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway (free parking).
— Public comment: Speaker cards found in front of the commission chambers.
— Agendas: Click here.
The meetings are streamed live on YouTube and Clark County Television, Channel 4, Cox cable channel 1004 (in the Las Vegas area). The station is available on Channel 4 in Boulder City and digital channel 50.3 in Moapa Valley.
Recordings are available shortly after each meeting on individual agendas.
North Las Vegas
— Meeting time: 4 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of every month
— Location:North Las Vegas City Hall, 2250 Las Vegas Blvd. N. (free parking)
— Public comment:Speaker cards located at main entrance and the podium facing the council.
— Agendas:Click here.
Meetings livestream and archived videos found here.
City of Henderson
— Meeting time: 4 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of every month.
— Location: Henderson City Hall, 240 S. Water St. (free parking)
— Agendas: Click here
Livestream and archived videos can be viewed here. The city also uploads meeting videos on its YouTube account.
— Meeting time: 5 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of every month (except July and December when the council only meets the first Tuesday)
— Location: City Hall, 401 California Ave.
— Public comment: In-person, over email (to be read to the record), or over the phone during public comment period at 702-589-9629.
— Agendas: Click here.
Meetings are livestreamed and available live on Channel 2 for Cox subscribers. The city’s YouTube channel also has archived recordings.
Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.