City Council debates proposal for free public petitions

City councilors and residents debated a proposal to allow all citizens to freely being petitions to City Council. / Photo courtesy Creative Commons.
City councilors and residents debated a proposal to allow all citizens to freely being petitions to City Council. / Photo courtesy Creative Commons

استراتيجية الخيارات الثنائية 5 دقائق By Maggie Dolan, news staff The Massachusetts Constitution is the oldest governing document active today, but its provisions allowing free petition to all citizens still have limited effectiveness. Last month, however, Boston city councilors proposed a non-discriminatory ordinance that would encourage people of all ages, voter abilities and citizenship statuses to bring petitions to the City Council.

افضل فوركس Boston City Council President Michelle Wu proposed the “Free Petition Ordinance” in March. The ordinance would give the Council three months to address any petition signed by at least 250 residents, according to a Facebook post by Wu.

ثنائي الخيار على الانترنت The council discussed the ordinance’s value and challenges, such as the potential for thousands of new hearings, repeat petitions and scheduling around Council agendas, at a hearing in City Hall at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. “It is important to point out the balance between making sure we’re accessible and responsive in creating a vehicle that residents can use, and also not overwhelming the operations of the Council,” Wu said. A number of other towns and cities in Massachusetts, including Chelsea, Winthrop, Lawrence and Newton, already have such free petition laws in effect. Though Boston has a much larger population, Wu said she believes it can still be successful in harnessing community involvement.

عبر هذا الموقع “In my mind, there couldn’t be a more appropriate time for the creation of a mechanism like this, as we’re talking about how to take advantage of the civil energy that is out there,” Wu said.

البرنامج الآلى لتداول الفوركس Jamal Crawford, a Roxbury resident, gave a community testimonial at the hearing. He believes the ordinance would give the Council free consultation from a mass of people who may not currently participate in government matters. “This is a city of innovation,” Crawford said. “I think we would be in a better position to get a wealth of ideas, things that we haven’t heard or tried before.” City Councilor at-Large Ayanna Pressley sponsored the ordinance, but said several details, such as the right of incarcerated residents to petition, the implications of hate speech and how signatures will be verified, need to be discussed further. “This is an opportunity to engage people that are often outside of the recycled bubble of our most ardent and vigilant activists,” Pressley said. “This is an opportunity to engage a greater diversity of voices.” As the city cannot give business licenses to incarcerated people, their petitions cannot be heard, but groups that advocate for the incarcerated will have more power under the ordinance, she said.

مزيد من المعلومات هنا Councilor Josh Zakim (D-8) said the ordinance would be different in Boston from the other municipalities because of its size, which could prove challenging for the council to effectively keep up with newly filed hearings. City Clerk Maureen Feeney listed several potential solutions to Zakim’s question, such as having designated filing periods throughout the year or having specific staff on the election committee to validate signatures, even during election season.

الصفحة الرئيسية Pam McLaughlin from the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts raised concerns over money’s effect on the political system, and suggested the council add a financial disclosure requirement to the ordinance.

فيسيت “This could be anything from a community organization offering a stipend to teenagers to collect signatures on a petition as a way to encourage their civic participation, to out of state donors seeking to influence city government,” she said.

Councilor Tito Jackson (D-7) said that despite the ordinance’s need for revision, it is an important step the council needs to take to give all of its constituents a real voice.

“You don’t need a title to make a difference. That’s what’s important about this measure,” Jackson said. “And I think that we may see some things that we’ve never seen and maybe never even thought of.”

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