Making participation legal - UNH law school forum

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Making participation legal - UNH law school forum

  1. 1. MAKING PARTICIPATION LEGAL: BUILDING A STRONGER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT Matt Leighninger UNH Law School Forum March 25, 2014
  2. 2. THE DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY CONSORTIUM
  3. 3. THE CONTEXT FOR ENGAGEMENT: HOW HAVE CITIZENS* CHANGED?  More educated  More skeptical – different attitudes toward authority  Have less time to spare  Better able to find resources, allies, information (Internet) * citizens = residents, people
  4. 4. THE CONTEXT: FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN  Have the most at stake in community success  More motivation to engage, but even less time  Want to engage in community, not just politics
  5. 5. THE CONTEXT: INCREASED USE OF THE INTERNET Available free for download at BIT.LY/IWJGQN
  6. 6. THREE MINUTES AT THE MICROPHONE Retrieved from Cincinnati.com, July 27, 2012
  7. 7. “What drove me to try planned, structured public engagement was my awful experience with unplanned, unstructured public engagement.” ─ John Nalbandian, former mayor, Lawrence, KS
  8. 8. TREATING CITIZENS LIKE ADULTS Give them:  Information  Chance to tell their story  Choices  Legitimacy  Chances to take action  Good process  Food and fun!
  9. 9.  The status quo and default structure  No discussion outside the agenda  Oriented to getting comments in the record  Easy to disrupt  Even the physical layout makes people angry THREE MINUTES AT THE MICROPHONE
  10. 10. Administrative Procedure Act (APA 1946) Freedom of Information Act & Sunshine Act (1966) Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA 1972) Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (ADRA 1996) Negotiated Rulemaking Act (NRA 1996) E-Government Act (2002) “Public participation” used over 200 times in the U.S. Code, over 1,000 times in Code of Federal Regulations – and rarely defined HOW WE GOT HERE: THE FEDERAL FRAMEWORK
  11. 11. Parallel to federal models Model State Administrative Procedure Act (1961, 1980, 2010) Freedom of Information Acts Government in the Sunshine Acts Some agency dispute resolution laws and/or negotiated rulemaking laws Home Rule Acts generally silent on public participation HOW WE GOT HERE: THE STATE FRAMEWORKS
  12. 12.  “Public participation” mandated but generally not defined; APA silent on upstream uses  No broad-based authority or mandate for deliberative democracy or participatory democracy  Sunshine laws & agenda constraints  Limits on creative thinking about dialogue among electeds and public GAPS IN AUTHORITY
  13. 13. WORKING GROUP ON LEGAL FRAMEWORKS FOR PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
  14. 14.  Broad and non-exclusive definition of public participation  Built into the phrase “public participation” so it hits every specific authorization for PP in a State Code  No mandates – model is ADR  Agency policies  Public Participation Specialists  Decision to use particular process insulated from judicial review  Provision for “Public Participation Meetings” so electeds and the public can deliberate outside the box STATE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACT
  15. 15.  Similar structure  Again, no mandates  Principles for successful public participation  Possible use of commission or other agency at local government level  No reference to changing sunshine laws as usually a matter for state legislature  Best use: to start a discussion about how you want participation to work in your municipality LOCAL PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ORDINANCE
  16. 16. Available free for download at BIT.LY/1F2MGAP/
  17. 17. SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: PROACTIVE RECRUITMENT  Map community networks;  Involve leaders of those networks;  ‘Who is least likely to participate?’  Use online as well as f2f connections;  Follow up!
  18. 18. SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: SMALL-GROUP PROCESSES  No more than 12 people per group;  Facilitator who is impartial (doesn’t give opinions);  Start with people describing their experiences;  Lay out options;  Help people plan for action.
  19. 19. SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: FRAMING AN ISSUE  Give people the information they need, in ways they can use it  Lays out several options or views (including ones you don’t agree with)  Trust them to make good decisions
  20. 20. SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: ENCOURAGING CITIZEN ACTION
  21. 21. SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: ONLINE TOOLS Particularly good for:  Providing background information  Data gathering by citizens  Generating and ranking ideas  Helping people visualize options  Maintaining connections over time
  22. 22. QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
  23. 23. Participation commissions or advisory boards can:  Develop multi-year participation plans  Develop guidelines on when/how participation should happen  Assess and evaluation current participation efforts  Provide annual report to council on status of participation  Help strengthen networks for recruitment PUTTING THESE TACTICS TO USE: PARTICIPATION COMMISSIONS AND ADVISORY BOARDS
  24. 24.  Stronger networks, online and off, for recruitment and dissemination of information  Better use of social media to raise interest, discussion before and between meetings  Clear avenues for public to present ideas for the agenda  At the meeting (or as a pre-meeting), a format featuring small-group discussions  Proposed guideline: Electeds cannot vote, act, or make decisions until information from meeting is made public PUTTING THESE TACTICS TO USE: BETTER FORMATS FOR PUBLIC MEETINGS
  25. 25.  Larger assumption to discuss: What is government’s role in supporting participation?  One office – or participation skills distributed throughout departments?  Training opportunities  Need for principles, protocols, and metrics to guide the work PUTTING THESE TACTICS TO USE: PARTICIPATION STAFFING IN CITY HALL
  26. 26. WHY SUSTAINED ENGAGEMENT? Increases in:  Trust  Efficiency  Equity  Connectedness …which increases:  Economic growth  Public health
  27. 27. BUILDING BLOCKS FOR CIVIC INFRASTRUCTURE
  28. 28. BUILDING BLOCK: Helping neighborhood and school groups become more - effective - inclusive - participatory
  29. 29. BUILDING BLOCK: HYPERLOCAL ONLINE FORUMS More sustained Larger, more diverse numbers of people Easier for ‘engagers’ – recruitment doesn’t have to start from scratch More open to ideas from the ‘engaged’
  30. 30. BUILDING BLOCK: CIVIC INDICATORS
  31. 31. BUILDING BLOCK: YOUTH LEADERSHIP
  32. 32. “Sometimes you need a meeting that is also a party. Sometimes you need a party that is also a meeting.” ─ Gloria Rubio-Cortès, National Civic League DON’T FORGET: FUN!
  33. 33. SLIDES AVAILABLE AT: WWW.SLIDESHARE.NET/MATTLEIGHNINGER GUIDES: PLANNING FOR STRONGER LOCAL DEMOCRACY – BIT.LY/PSLDNLC USING ONLINE TOOLS TO ENGAGE THE PUBLIC– BIT.LY/IWJGQN MAKING PUBLIC PARTICIPATION LEGAL – BIT.LY/1F2MGAP
  34. 34. RESOURCES www.icma.org www.participedia.net www.deliberative-democracy.net www.everydaydemocracy.org www.publicagenda.org www.kettering.org
  35. 35. QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?

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