They arrive at nearly every city or county council meeting. The regulars. The gadflies. The people who, no matter the topic, seize the microphone during the public comment period and say things like:
“You’re all criminals,” or “ I’m looking at you being an extraordinary, abusive, pathological liar,” or “I would think that this council would have some pretty high priced heads on spikes when all this clears.”
And so on.
While a member of the public has a right right to say such things – off-topic, on-point, sometimes insulting – that right isn’t unlimited. In the interest of civility, some local governments have been tightening the rules for public comment speakers.
It becomes a balancing act between protecting people’s free speech rights and moving a meeting along.