Making Public Participation Legal: Three Minutes at the Microphone

October 3, 2013

Home Reports & Resources Making Public Participation Legal: Three Minutes at the Microphone

Most of the laws that govern public participation in the U.S. are over thirty years old. They do not match the expectations and capacities of citizens today, they pre-date the Internet, and they do not reflect the lessons learned in the last two decades about how citizens and governments can work together. Increasingly, public administrators and public engagement practitioners are hindered by the fact that it’s unclear if many of the best practices in participation are even allowed by the law.

Making Public Participation Legal, a 2013 publication of the National Civic League (with support from the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation), presents a valuable set of tools, including a model ordinance, set of policy options, and resource list, to help communities improve public participation.

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Matt Leighninger leads Public Agenda’s work in public engagement and democratic governance and directs the Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment.

Previously, Matt was the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC), an alliance of major organizations (including Public Agenda) and leading scholars working in the field of deliberation and public participation. The DDC represents more than 50 foundations, nonprofit organizations, and universities, collaborating to support research activities and advance democratic practice, in North America and around the world.

Over the last twenty years, Matt has worked with public participation efforts in over 100 communities, in 40 states and four Canadian provinces. Matt serves on the boards of, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2USA), The Democracy Imperative, and the Participatory Budgeting Project, and is a Senior Associate for Everyday Democracy. More about Matt

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