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Lansing City Council to allow virtual participation at meetings

Flickr - MI SHPO

The Lansing City Council is creating a virtual option for residents to share their input at official meetings.

Residents who want to give public comment to the Lansing City Council currently need to attend evening meetings in-person at City Hall. The new rule change approved on Feb. 26 allows community members to connect online and address the council on legislative issues.

Lansing City Councilmember Peter Spadafore said the new rule makes it easier for visitors to be heard in City Hall.

“This gives a chance to make good on a promise we made in last year’s budget to get that open access to individuals who can’t make it down to this building,” Spadafore said.

Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope noted individuals who wish to participate virtually at council meetings will need to register with his office at least four hours ahead of time, giving his staff time to process their requests.

“They will have to indicate which items they intend to speak about, and then before the meeting, they will get a link to a webinar or version of the council meeting,” Swope said.

Virtual participants can use a phone or internet connection to access a Microsoft Teams webinar for meetings. Speakers will still be subject to time limit and decorum requirements.

Councilmembers said they plan to review the process in six months to consider any adjustments to the online registration requirements. Swope said his office may be able to automate parts of the registration process in the future and adjust how early attendees need to register.

The Lansing City Council will begin offering the virtual participation option at its next meeting on March 11.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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