The Long Beach City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to begin the process of updating the city’s municipal code to include a new state law that spells out how and when disruptive people can be removed from public meetings.
While existing laws, like Ralph M. Brown Act, already provided ways for bodies to remove disruptive people from meetings, Senate Bill 1100, which was signed into law earlier this year, more clearly defines how a person can be kicked out.
Under the new bill, which Long Beach says it will add to its municipal code, a person who is “actually disturbing or impeding” a meeting from continuing can be removed if they’re warned about their behavior and they continue to be disruptive. The warning requirement wouldn’t apply to people who make actual threats of violence.
The request to add the bill’s language to Long Beach’s laws came from Mayor Robert Garcia. As part of the process, Garcia also asked to remove other language that requires people to provide their names and addresses to give public comment. Garcia was not present at the meeting Tuesday night.
Last week, City Attorney Charlie Parkin said that the new law wouldn’t change how Long Beach has chosen to remove people in the past, but it would spell it out for people so everyone is aware of what the rules are. Long Beach has only removed a handful of people from meetings over the past decade, with the last person being ushered out of the meeting after threatening to shoot someone.
The council will have to vote again at a future meeting for the municipal code changes to take effect.