AZ House Committee approves bill requiring large enough spaces for public body meetings

By Greg Hahne
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 12:46pm

The Arizona House Committee on Government and Elections approved a measure Wednesday that would make it illegal for school boards, city councils and boards of supervisors to hold meetings without providing enough seats for the public. 

Residents have crowded into rooms as they have gone to school board meetings to make their voices heard on subjects from masks to how children should be taught on race and discrimination.  Bill sponsor Rep. John Kavanagh has agreed to add language that will make requirements for sufficient seating contingent on whether it is feasible. 

"All I'm asking them to do is if they reasonably anticipate a bigger crowd, and if it's feasible for them to get a bigger room, they do that," Kavanagh said. 

House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding raised questions on how those bodies should estimate what crowds to expect. Kavanagh said that it would depend on the situation, such as a town council talking about major rezoning.