Nashville’s longstanding rules about how the public can make comments at Metro Council meetings will undergo a significant change Tuesday. An open comment portion will be added near the beginning of the meeting to allow people to talk about issues even if they’re not on the council’s agenda.
Previously, it wasn't as easy to address the council. The main restriction was that comments were only taken for items that were on the agenda and that were required, by law, to include a public hearing, such as land rezonings and the annual budget discussion.
Starting this week, an open comment period will begin the council meetings held on the third Tuesdays of each month. Those who sign up to speak will still be time-limited to 2 minutes.
The new format was spurred in part by a protest in council chambers in February 2017 in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Jocques Clemmons by Nashville police Officer Joshua Lippert.
Mayor David Briley — who was vice mayor at the time — allowed some residents to speak that night, and he then began a series of meetings to create the new comment format.
Those wishing to address the council must register in advance and abide by a lengthy list of guidelines. Registration is available online here, by calling 615-862-6780, or by visiting the council office at city hall.