Researching Your Local Government

Get Your Research on Local Government Done This Week

July is National Attend a School Board Meeting Month. August is National Attend a City Government Meeting Month. This week is the time to get all your research done about your local government so that in July and August (and any other time that arises), you are ready to act. Please note that the exact names of the government entities will vary from place to place, i.e. it might be called “county council,” or “county commission,” etc. That’s part of your research – what are your local government entities even called? Compile your research in a spreadsheet or document on your computer, or on paper, whichever you prefer. Just make sure it’s easy to access when you need it.

Basic List of Local Government Entities to Research

  • School Board (even if you don’t have kids in the local school district, you pay taxes to support it and have a say)
  • City Council
  • County Council
  • Library Board
  • Board of Elections

Basic Questions to Research

  • When do they meet?
  • Can you attend a meeting in person or is it online?
  • Where do they meet if it’s in person? If it’s online, how can you register for the online meeting? Do you need to RSVP ahead of time?
  • How many members are there?
  • Who are the members?
  • What is their contact information?
  • Are they appointed or elected? If appointed, who appoints them and when? If elected, when is their next election?
  • Do they represent districts? If so, what are the districts and is there a map you can access?
  • Can you comment during a meeting? If so, what are the rules about commenting? How much time will you have? Do you have to sign up ahead of time?
  • Right now, do they require masks to attend the meetings?
  • What’s the process for submitting legislation/ordinances/rules to them?
  • Anything else you find that you think would be important to know ahead of time!