By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council’s regular weekly meetings could soon run a whole lot longer now that the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has ruled that Council must open those meeting for public comment.

City Council for decades has only allowed public comment at its committee hearings — not at its weekly meetings at which final votes are taken.  That could soon change, though, following a state Supreme Court ruling.  In a split opinion, a majority of justices held that the state Sunshine Act requires Philadelphia City Council to allow the public to speak at its full meetings.

Read The Ruling (PDF format)

Read the Dissenting Opinion (PDF format)

Council president Anna Verna was clearly not thrilled, saying, “We’ll just have to abide by their decision.”

Also aghast was Councilman Bill Greenlee.

“I guess I don’t see the necessity for that,” Greenlee says. “It’s not like at any time we have cut off public debate at hearings.”

But Councilman Curtis Jones thinks it’s high time the public has a louder voice.

“At the end of the day, they’re the boss,” Jones says. “And we should hear from the boss, and get constant reinforcement about whether what we’re doing is the will of the people.”

Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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