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Public comment officially reinstated at Oklahoma County meetings

Oklahoma County commissioners on Friday unanimously approved reinstating public comment at future meetings.

The public will be able to attend meetings in person and sign up to speak, and there will also be a virtual option with a link to speak online at county meetings attached to meeting agendas.

“I think it’s (a) fairly stable… and safe platform,” said Joe Blough, Commissioner Carrie Blumert’s chief deputy, about the online system.

Blumert has been pushing to bring public comments back for weeks after the board suspended comments in March because of COVID-19.

Over the last several days, multiple protesters have come to county meetings and tried to speak about different resolutions and financial plans but have been told they could not because public comment was not officially reinstated.

On some occasions, protesters would speak anyway. At one meeting, Blumert allowed two hours of public comment.

At one point, it was unclear why it was taking so long to reinstate public comment.

Commissioners previously said County Clerk David Hooten had not yet been able to figure out how to set up the virtual option for members of the public. But on Wednesday, Hooten said he was just waiting for commissioners to decide what they wanted the process to look like and then his office could set it up.

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