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Bloomington Council Nixes Committees, Tries To Shorten Talks

The Bloomington City Council voted 5-4 against the re-introduction of legislative reform Wednesday night but agreed changes could be made.

Bloomington City Hall Sign

Photo: Daniel Robison/WFIU News

Meetings could get shorter, but not because committees will hear legislation before the full council will.

Under council member Steve Volan’s proposal the legislative cycle would have been extended from two to four weeks and legislation would have the option of being sent to one of a number of standing committees for further review.  Volan says he raised important issues and hopes there will be further discussion on the issue.

“Even members who oppose 12-09, who oppose committees, recognized the benefit of going to a four week cycle and I think if that comes out of it, it will be a great win for everyone,” Volan says.

Volan originally brought the motion before the council at the end of last year with the provision that all legislation must be heard by a committee.  Several council members who voted against the legislation oppose standing committees in general because they believe it detracts from an individual council member’s representation of a district.

Although council member Darryl Neher voted against the legislation, he agrees with Volan that meetings sometimes run too late, potentially affecting the decision-making skills of tired councilors. He also says late meetings can be a deterrent for public engagement.  Neher says he hopes the council will look for ways to solve those problems.

“I don’t have the answer and I don’t pretend to,” he says.  “I think that’s part of what the broader knowledge and institutional knowledge of the council and bringing people together for that discussion is going to help feed that.”

The council did vote in favor of another piece of legislation presented by Volan that will help curb late meetings by ensuring hearings don’t occur after 9:45 p.m.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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