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Maricopa County Board of Supervisors sets behavior standards for attendees of public meetings

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors took action Wednesday to formally define proper decorum for people attending its public meetings.

The move comes weeks after the board tightened security based on advice from law enforcement.

People attending board meetings can no longer disrupt proceedings by holding up signs or banners. Good behavior also means refraining from saying something slanderous or abusive.

Board meetings start with an invocation. Laughter came from the audience after county employee Darren Gerard prayed to protect board members and their families. 

“Physically mentally and emotionally as they endure continued threats and attacks on a regular basis,” said Gerard.

The board also set a new rule saying that people who sign up to speak may only comment on items on the agenda and issues directly under the board’s authority. And there is now a deadline for people to sign up to speak at public meetings.  Request-to-comment forms must be submitted no more than 10 minutes after a board meeting formally starts.

Not following the rules can mean ejection.

Chair Jack Sellers called for security to remove an audience member for interrupting. The audience member replied he just wanted to clarify the rules.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.