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Want to participate in Kansas City, Missouri’s legislative process, but not sure where to start? The Kansas City Beacon has created this guide to watching, attending and testifying at city government meetings. 

Where to find government meeting times and locations

Past and upcoming meeting dates are published on the city clerk’s calendar. Users can sort by date, time and location, as well as committees. 

If meetings are in person, the address will be listed on the calendar. Otherwise, a Zoom link or other video conference link will be provided. 

Before a meeting begins, an agenda is published on the calendar. These agendas lay out what business will be discussed in the meeting, who will be attending and any rules of conduct. 

Some meetings occur at a specific time each week. On Thursdays, business sessions happen at 1:30 p.m., and City Council meetings happen at 3 p.m.

These times may be changed or canceled with a 24-hour notice. 

If a large number of participants is expected to attend a particular meeting, it may be moved to a larger location. 

Ways to watch government council, committee meetings

There are several ways to watch government meetings.

People can livestream City Council meetings on the city’s website or its YouTube channel. A Zoom link is also available on the calendar. Those who have cable can watch the meetings on Channel 2. Residents can also attend council meetings at City Hall. Pay attention to current mask mandates, which may require masking at the meetings.

If you have a hearing impairment, the clerk’s office has assistive equipment that can be checked out for each meeting. To check out the equipment, reach out to the secretary of the committee you’re interested in watching. Call either the secretary or the clerk’s office in advance to ensure you can receive the equipment in time. You will need to exchange your driver’s license or state ID for the equipment. These will be returned to you once you’ve returned the equipment.

Some committees use other video conferencing platforms, like Microsoft Teams.

To watch archived meetings, go to the city clerk’s website and search the Video on Demand section. You can search by committee or keyword. The Video on Demand section also allows you to download archived meetings, and closed captioning is available.

Archived meetings are time-stamped by ordinance number. Viewers can click on specific ordinance numbers in the video to view the portion of the meeting pertaining to the ordinance.

How to participate, online or in-person, at government meetings

After a proposed ordinance is assigned to a committee, the committee will host weekly public hearings to hear from constituents about the issue. Testimony helps committee members determine whether or not to pass an ordinance or resolution. If passed, it will make its way to the council for a full vote. 

The committee agenda will lay out any rules for testimony, including time limits for each speaker. When joining a Microsoft Teams or Zoom meeting, you will be designated as an attendee. If public testimony is requested, you can click the “raise your hand” button in order to be recognized and allowed to speak. 

Public testimony is not accepted at full City Council meetings or business sessions. 

Residents don’t have to show up in person to give input on city decisions. Those who want to comment on proposed ordinances can also send written testimony to public.testimony@kcmo.org. There is no word limit on written testimony. The comments will be given to the committee and added to the public record.

What if I have questions about a specific meeting I want to participate in?

For more information on an upcoming meeting, you can contact the City Clerk’s Office. A full list of clerk contacts is available on the website.

Some committees will also designate a contact person, whose information will be listed on the calendar. 

Quick links to participate in government meetings

  • The city clerk’s website: kcmo.gov/city-hall/clerk
  • The city clerk’s contact information: Marilyn Sanders, 816-513-6401
  • The meeting calendar: clerk.kcmo.gov/Calendar.aspx
  • City Hall address: 414 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64106
  • City Council meeting address: 26th floor of 414 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64106

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Emily Wolf is a local government accountability reporter with a focus on telling meaningful stories through data at The Kansas City Beacon. She is a Report for America corps member.