Public Hearing Law Meaning

The Chairperson may find it helpful to have a written „script“ to follow when opening and presiding over the hearing to ensure that he or she correctly explains the rules and procedures of each party to the hearing and that he or she does not forget anything. [20] Rowe, Gene and Lynn J. Frewer, „Public participation methods: A framework for evaluation,“ Science, Technology, & Human Values 25, no. 1: 3-29, 2000. Excerpted from Conducting Public Meetings and Public Hearings is a guide compiled specifically for New York State, although much of the information for public conduct assemblies in other states apply. Public hearings are comparable to citizens` reference bodies, to direct representation. A related online version is the constituency forum. Karpowitz suggests two improvements that could be implemented to make hearings more consultative. First, he suggested that all hearings begin with a welcoming statement from the officials presiding over the hearing and pay tribute to all groups present. By recognizing different points of view, people will feel more comfortable speaking and can encourage more points of view to be discussed. When officials recognize the parties present, those who speak are more likely to feel that they are really listening to what they have to say.

The second proposal is to give public servants more time to respond to citizens` comments. Instead of a quick „thank you“ when officials respond to each comment, it will encourage better discussion and take the sense of approval away from the audience. [36] At any public hearing, there is at least an exchange of information and views on an issue. While public participants often expect their opinions to influence the final decision, public servants are not required to do so. [16] However, by presenting information on the subject and answering questions from the public – the elements of the process – public hearings can also be used to influence the public in favour of decisions proposed by public servants or to communicate why a particular course of action may be taken. While the final decision may contradict the views or suggestions of the public expressed at the hearing, the procedure makes the procedure at least somewhat transparent. Although public hearings take place around the world and much of the process is similar to the one described below, this article focuses primarily on public hearings in the United States. In addition, the advisory aspect of the consultation can improve public perception of the organizing body. Public hearings are often convened by governments to affirm or establish representative legitimacy. Hearings convened by public bodies or NGOs can provide them with public support, which can be a means of legitimising their actions vis-à-vis other organisational or decision-making bodies. [17] However, a study of public hearings used in water quality planning in North Carolina in the late 1970s found that more than half of respondents were representatives of organized economic interests.

Other studies in the United States have confirmed that organized interests tend to dominate public hearings, most of which have an economic interest in the decision. [18] Public hearings as a consultation process have been used in many other scenarios and countries outside the U.S. legislative context. For example, public hearings are the preferred method of consultation during annual cycles of PBs developed in South and Latin America. In addition, several high-profile public hearings (inquiries) have been held across Canada on extremely broad issues such as mental health and, more recently, murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. A public hearing is usually held when a government, government agency or organization makes a decision about an action plan, for example: a law or a plan. The hearing is organized and held by the government agency or organization in the region where the issue will occur and has the greatest impact. Sometimes it is well publicized in the local media, while sometimes it is barely mentioned, and the degree of publicity depends mainly on the amount of controversy surrounding the topic. The level of publicity, in turn, determines the quality of attendance at the hearing, from auditoriums filled with concerned citizens to a small room where only officials are present. For most hearings, the body holding the hearing must notify all parties that it believes will be interested in and affected by the outcome of the decision.

[10] The public hearing is then made available to the public and the participants are selected persons as well as representatives of the government agency or organization. In addition, experts from fields relevant to the topic are sometimes invited to present information and answer questions. Since those calling the hearing are not required by law to follow the advice or suggestions, they may run the risk of alienating the public or provoking criticism from participants. One way to minimize this is for officials to publish full documentation of the decision-making process, including how contributions from public hearings were or were not considered. The first public meetings were chaired by a commission bound by impartiality. Commissioners were originally appointed, but in recent years there has been at least one who has been appointed by the public. In 1845, the General Inclosure Act created permanent commissioners who sent all bills to Parliament and a publicly appointed commissioner who resided above public meetings to hear citizens` concerns.