(A)   Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      GOVERNMENTAL OR GOVERNING BODY. Shall mean and be defined for the purpose of interpreting and enforcing this section as described by Tex. Local Government Code § 551.001(3)(B) - (L), which includes the Palmview City Council (a municipal governing body in the state), and a deliberative body that has rulemaking or quasi-judicial power and that is classified as a department, agency, or political subdivision of a municipality.
      PUBLIC TESTIMONY; SIGN-IN REQUIREMENT; TIME LIMIT. This section does not apply to advisory boards of the city. A person intending on addressing the governing body may speak at a scheduled meeting of the governing body following registration with the Presiding Clerk and prior to the scheduled meeting. A registered speaker may speak only on items on the agenda and may not exceed three minutes when addressing the board regarding an agenda item. A registered speaker may not donate time to another speaker. A sign-in form for public testimony shall be promulgated by the Presiding Clerk and be made available at the City Clerk’s office. No registered speaker may be allowed to speak regarding an item once the public testimony portion of the agenda has ended.
   (B)   Procedures.
      (1)   The order of procedure shall follow the order of the agenda; however, the Mayor or Presiding Officer shall have the authority to vary the order of procedure in order to expedite the proceedings; provided that no properly registered person shall be denied an opportunity to address the governing body on an agenda item on the day for which the item is scheduled because of a variance to the order of procedure and provided that the registered speaker arrived before closing the public testimony period.
      (2)   No person shall address the governing body without first being recognized by the Mayor or Presiding Officer.
      (3)   No person, either individually or in a representative capacity, shall address the governing body on an agenda item that is under consideration by the governing body unless recognition is allowed as specified in division (B)(2) above and if properly registered as prescribed in division (B)(1) above.
      (4)   The Presiding Officer or any member of the governing body may make a motion pertaining to the subject matter of such agenda. All motions, authorizations, decisions, and actions, except those requiring a greater number as set out in the Charter or under state law, shall be approved upon a majority vote of the Presiding Officer and governing body so voting thereon.
      (5)   Any posted meeting of the governing body may be recessed to another time and place for the purposes of consideration and action on any items not acted on during such meeting by an announcement of the Presiding Officer during such meeting; such announcement will provide the time, date and place at which such recessed meeting shall be continued.
      (6)   Each person addressing the governing body shall give their name and address in an audible tone of voice for the record, state the subject they wish to discuss, and state who/whom the person is representing if representing an entity, organization, or other persons. All remarks shall be addressed to the governing body as a whole and not to any member thereof. No person shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the governing body, without the permission of the Presiding Officer. No question may be asked a member of the governing body, or a member of the city staff, without the permission of the Presiding Officer.
      (7)   In order to expedite matters and to avoid repetitious presentations, whenever any identifiable group of persons wishes to address the governing body on the same subject matter, it shall be proper for the Presiding Officer to request that a spokesperson be chosen by the group to address the governing body and, in case additional matters are to be presented by any other member of such group, to limit the number of such persons addressing the governing body.
      (8)   After a motion has been made or public testimony has been closed, no member of the public shall address the governing body on the matter under consideration without first securing permission to do so by the Presiding Officer.
      (9)   Any person, business, corporation, or other entity that desires to solicit services to the city shall not use a public hearing agenda item for discussion or consideration of such services. The governing body will consider solicitations only if placed on the agenda and, if applicable, after such legal requirements have been satisfied for the purchasing and contracting of such services.
   (C)   Order and decorum.
      (1)   Board members. While the governing body is in session, the members must observe order and decorum, and a member shall neither, by conversation or otherwise, delay or interrupt the proceedings or the peace of the governing body, nor disturb any member while speaking or refuse to obey the orders of the Presiding Officer.
      (2)   Employees. Members of the city staff and employees shall observe the same rules of order and decorum as are applicable to the City Council.
      (3)   Persons addressing the board. Any person who willfully utters loud, threatening or abusive language including but not limited to profanities, or engages in any disorderly conduct that constitutes defamation, true threats, fighting words, obscenities, defamation (including libel and slander), blackmail, solicitation to commit crimes, or that may impede, incite, disrupt or disturb the orderly conduct of any meeting, hearing or other proceeding, shall be called to order by the Presiding Officer or immediately removed. If such conduct continues, the governing body may at its discretion order that any violator be barred from further participation before the governing body.
      (4)   Members of the audience; search. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in disorderly conduct such as: hand clapping, stomping of feet, whistling, yelling and similar demonstrations, which conduct disturbs the peace and good order of the meeting. Use of placards, banners, signs, exhibits, displays, clothing, and other visual aids or devices that display sentiments that may be threatening, abusive, profane, or result in any disorderly conduct are not permitted in the governing body's meeting area during meeting times. No conversation among persons in the audience shall take place that may disturb the order of business. All mobile and other communication devices including telephones shall be on silent or a non-audible mode. Hand clapping may be allowed as an exception to this provision in instances allowed by the Presiding Officer such as celebratory or positive acknowledgment.
      (5)   The Presiding Officer shall reserve the right to impose reasonable rules and modify rules regarding the public’s participation, including procedures, order, and decorum.
   (D)   Disturbance abatement.
      (1)   Warning. All persons at the meetings of the governing body shall, at the request of the Presiding Officer, be silent. If, after receiving a warning from the Presiding Officer, a person persists in disturbing the meeting, such Officer may order him/her to remove himself/herself from the meeting. If he/she does not remove himself/herself, the Presiding Officer may order that the City Manager or a law enforcement officer have the person removed.
      (2)   Removal. The Chief of Police, or such member of the Police Department as the Presiding Officer may designate, shall be Sergeant-at-Arms of the City Council’s meetings. The Chief shall carry out all orders and instructions given by the Presiding Officer for the purpose of maintaining order and decorum at the meeting. Upon instruction of the Presiding Officer, it shall be the duty of the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove from the meeting any person who disturbs the proceedings of the governing body.
      (3)   Necessitating removal. It shall be unlawful for any person at a meeting of the governing body to resist removal by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
      (4)   Motions to enforce. Any member of the governing body may move to require the Presiding Officer to enforce the terms of this section, and the affirmative vote of a majority of the governing body shall require him or her to do so.
      (5)   Adjournment. If any meeting of the governing body is willfully disturbed by a group of persons so as to render the orderly conduct of such meeting unfeasible, and when order cannot be restored by the removal of individuals who are creating the disturbance, the meeting may be adjourned, and the remaining business considered at the next regular meeting.
   (E)   Use of cameras and recorders. Cameras, including television and motion picture cameras, electronic sound recording devices and any other mechanical, electrical or electronic recording devices may be used in a reasonable manner in the public section of the commission chamber but only in the areas designated by the city.
   (F)   Provisions applicable to boards and committees. The rules and procedures set out herein shall be applicable to the city’s elected body and to a deliberative body that has rulemaking or quasi-judicial power and that is classified as a department, agency, or political subdivision of the municipality.
   (G)   Notice shall be placed in conspicuous place. All or part of the provisions of this section may be placed in an area to be viewed by the public at or near the meeting site.
   (H)   Enforcement; punishment; penalties.
      (1)   Should any person or business violate the prohibitions contained herein, the City Attorney may take any action to enforce this section or any ordinance to prevent and summarily abate the action, and any and all other relief as may be necessary.
      (2)   Any violation of this section shall be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. A criminal conviction shall be a Class C misdemeanor. A violator shall also be subject to the maximum penalties allowed by law for failing to appear in court when charged with an offense as described herein. If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another law, the person may be prosecuted under all applicable laws.
      (3)   A liable party shall be subject to a civil penalty up to $200 per violation, in addition to court costs, and other fees allowed by law.
(Ord. 2019-15-O, passed 11-5-2019)