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Pine County Changes Public Comment Policy for Remote Attendees

Pine County will be changing the way the public can remotely comment during county board meetings after a group joined a recent county meeting to disrupt it.

"We really do not want to limit the public's ability to participate in a public meeting," Board Chair Steve Hallan said.

Hallan commended Pine County IT Manager Ryan Findell's work to keep the meeting on track.

"Ryan had to do some pretty fancy footwork to disallow some rotten stuff," said Hallan

Pine County's solution now requires people looking to engage in the public comment portion to request a link in advance.

According to notes in the February 7 agenda, Kanabec and Morrison are the two surrounding Minnesota counties that allow remote public comment. Morrison, however, does require a two-day notice. Carlton, Isanti, and Chisago counties do not allow any sort of remote public comment.

"We thought that [the two-day notice] was a little much," Commissioner Josh Mohr said. "Ryan is going to play it by ear a little bit, but he figures people can request a link to comment right up until the meeting."

Residents will still be able to comment during public meetings in person without any extra steps, and anyone looking to watch Pine County board meetings virtually can do so freely without any extra steps.

Those looking remotely comment during the upcoming February 21 meeting will now have to do so. A link to make a comment request can be found on the Pine County website.

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