Meeting hall of the Prague council. Photo: archive
The Prague municipality has started preparing a proposal to change the council’s rules of procedure. According to him, for example, the times and duration of interpellations or the method of publishing the approved meeting agenda on the website of the municipality would change. This follows from the material discussed on Thursday by the Municipal Committee for Legislation and Public Administration and Transparency.
At the meeting, committee members presented their reservations and comments on the proposal, which they will forward to the municipal control committee for inclusion in the proposal. The representatives should discuss the final version of the rules at the December meeting.
Newly, the proposal states that the approved program of meetings will be immediately published on the website of the municipality. The regulation does not yet specify when it should be published after approval. A program approved by the city council is always published before the meetings of the representatives, to which the representatives can add their proposals. Deputies vote on the amended program.
In relation to citizens, the provision that a citizen can speak about which material only after the introductory words of the person presenting the document should be abolished. Newly, people could speak twice during the discussion of the document, at any time, but each time for a maximum of three minutes.
This was criticized by MP and opposition representative Patrik Nacher (ANO), according to him, it is not possible for citizens to speak, after which the discussion of representatives began and citizens would intervene in it. According to him, it could cause a situation where citizens could obstruct negotiations.
Nacher also criticized the proposal where people would have interpellations for 45 minutes after noon, then there would be 45-minute interpellations of representatives, and citizens would then have another 45 minutes from 5:00 p.m.
Committee chairwoman Kateřina Arnotová (STAN) suggested moving the citizens’ interpellations to the early evening hour and extending them, leaving the representatives’ interpellations at 1:15 p.m.
According to her, the early evening would be more convenient for the residents, they would not have to take time off from work. The committee members subsequently voted that citizen interpellations should be moved to 5:00 p.m. and should be extended from the current 45 to 90 minutes.
Senator and representative Hana Kordová Marvanová (elected for Spolu) demanded that the new version of the rules of procedure resolve the situation when, during a discussion, one of the representatives makes a so-called procedural proposal to interrupt the discussion of an item where voting is done without discussion, but representatives who are logged in they can no longer join the discussion after approving the interruption to the discussion.
Opposition representative Barbora Rázga (ANO) suggested that the paragraph according to which a representative can connect via the Internet in the event of covid-19 disease be deleted from the current rules. The deputies included this article in the rules during the coronavirus pandemic. The director of the legislative department of the municipality admitted that this part is unsystematic.
It is not yet clear what the rules of procedure will look like. The municipal control committee was tasked with developing the new version, which will discuss it with the legislation committee and then submit it to councilors for consideration. The order will then be changed by the deputies.