Angelina County commissioners table public forum discussion

New law will mandate that all governmental bodies allow public to address the body regarding an agenda item

VIDEO: Angelina County commissioners table public forum discussion

ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Angelina County commissioners have again addressed the issue of adding a public forum to commissioners court meetings.

On Tuesday, commissioners were set to discuss and or take action regarding establishing rules, procedure, and decorum for public forum.

That agenda item was tabled until commissioners can establish those three areas and study the new law that mandates all governmental bodies “shall allow each member of the public who desires to address the body regarding an item on an agenda for an open meeting of the body to address the body regarding the item at the meeting before or during the body’s consideration of the item.”

“That statue provides that commissioners court throughout the state required to allow members of the public to come before the court at any public meeting and address posted agenda items,” said Cary Kirby, the county attorney.

WEBXTRA: Angelina County commissioners table public forum discussion

Kirby explained public commenting is slightly different than public forum which means the public can address the court on any number of issues.

“The public is limited to speaking about items that are actually posted on the court’s agenda as opposed to a public forum where they can speak to the court about any item they wish to,” Kirby said.

County Judge Don Lymbery has been vocal and has shown support to bring back the ability for the public to share their concerns in the courtroom.

“They need to be have a way to address the entire the court. And not just pick the phone and talk to one commissioner or call me and talk to the judge,” Lymbery said. “They need to be able to address the entire court, and so we’re getting closer, and I’m tickled to death that we’re getting to that point.”

Sheriff Greg Sanches said through listening to the public his department was able to execute several ideas in the county including a safe zone and medicine drop-off box.

“They come to you with some good thoughts and maybe they have concerns or things that have happened, and I always like listen to it and see that it’s taken care of it. I think it’s our job to listen to them,” Sanches said.

On Monday, Lymbery said they will hold a special session open to the public to discuss how to establish rules, procedure and decorum for public forum.

It will be held at 10 a.m. at the Angelina County Courthouse Annex.

In September of 2015, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to remove the public forum.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2840 into law earlier this year. It goes into effect Sept. 1.

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