September 25-26, 2003

 

ITEM 120-103-R0903                Amending Article V of the Regents’ By-laws (Policy 201.7 of  the Board of Regents Policy and Procedures Manual) to Give the Chair the Explicit Authority to Limit Testimony

ARTICLE V.  Meetings

The board shall meet not less than quarterly.

Other meetings may be called by the governor, the chair of the board, the secretary or on the request of four appointed members.

The secretary shall notify each member by mail of scheduled meetings at least seven days in advance.

To place an item, or group of items, on the agenda, a member of the Board of Regents, a campus with the approval of the Commissioner, or the Commissioner must request the item or items and submit them to the Secretary of the Board of Regents at least four weeks prior to a meeting. The Commissioner and the Chair can agree to waive the four-week requirement.

When submitting an item, or group of items, the requestor shall designate the item or items as either action or discussion, information or special; after consultation with the Commissioner, the Chair shall place all such items on the agenda in the category the chair deems appropriate. An action item, or group of action items, may also be designated Consent by the requestor upon submission, with the concurrence of the Chair.

When a consent item, or group of consent items, is called up on the agenda for action, if there is no objection, action may be taken without further testimony or discussion.

When an action item, other than a consent item for which no objections has been made, is called up on the agenda, the sponsoring Regent, campus, or representative of the Commissioner's Office shall present the item, the chair will invite comment from citizens, students, faculty, staff, administrators and anyone else in attendance, followed by questions from the Regents. The sponsor will then have the right to respond. The item may be acted upon by the Regents at that time, or action may be delayed until after other action items have been presented. Items presented may be altered or amended, but not in such a manner as to change the original topic or subject.

At any time during a meeting, including during periods of public input, the Chair may place reasonable limits on personal testimony and presentations to the Board.  Such limits must recognize and respect the right of  the public to comment and balance that right with the obligation of the Board to complete its business in a timely manner.

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Explanation:  This change makes explicit in the by-laws an authority otherwise merely implicit.  This provision is meant to apply only to testimony or presentations made to the Board and is not intended to limit the debate and discussion rights of Board members themselves.  Like decisions of the chair generally, a decision to limit testimony is subject to reversal on a vote of the membership of the Board.  The new language is consistent with the new state statute that requires the Board to allow general public comment at each meeting.  That statute does not contain any language that would indicate that the intent was to grant members of the public an unlimited right of comment.