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Public Participation - Guidelines for Speakers and Spectators
The Council's rules and the rules in the County Code and the Maryland Code protect your right to testify and be heard by the Council, even if others in the hearing room disagree with you. They ensure that those attending the hearing may signal their views to the Council as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others to see and hear the proceedings.
You may wear badges or armbands or other articles of clothing that signal your point of view or proclaim your identity as part of a group.
Some spectators place their group's message on standard 81/2 by 11-inch paper. These may be held up for the Council to see -- as long as you do not obstruct the vision of others. Larger placards are not permitted. Signs on sticks are banned. They create too much of a hazard of inadvertent injury to others, particularly when a hearing room is crowded.
A speaker representing your group may ask you all to stand for a moment at the end of the testimony so the Council will be aware of how many members attended the meeting. We ask, however, that you do not remain standing during the testimony or during the testimony of others since this is discourteous to those who remain seated and interferes with their ability to see what is going on.
The Council understands that you may want to applaud some speakers. To avoid delaying the testimony of others, we ask that you avoid prolonged applause or cheering. We also ask that you refrain from booing or otherwise interfering with the testimony of others.