Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen amends rules for second readings of bills at same meeting

Suspension of rules now will require seven yes votes


By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen voted this month to amend the city’s ordinance governing whether bills can be read for a second time at the same meeting that the bill is introduced.

The aldermen voted 5-2 at the board’s Feb. 14 meeting to amend the city’s ordinance to make it easier for first and second readings to happen at the same meeting. Ward 1 Alderman Brian Fernandez, Ward 2 Alderman Christine Lieber, Ward 3 Alderman Randy Epperson and Ward 4 Aldermen Fred Daues and Lindsay Hof were in favor, while Ward 1 Alderman Ann McMunn and Ward 3 Alderman Cathy Friedmann were opposed. Ward 2 Alderman Casey Wong was absent.

Typically, bills are introduced at one of the board’s monthly meetings for a first reading, in which no vote is taken, and then voted on in a second reading at the next meeting.

In the current rules put into practice in 2016, if a single alderman votes against suspending the rules for a second reading at the same meeting, the bill must follow the usual procedure.

Under the new legislation, bills can be finalized and passed in the same meeting that they are introduced as long as seven aldermen vote to suspend the rules.

There have been other, unsuccessful attempts to amend the second reading rule in the past. In 2019, the board struck down two proposals that would have amended the rules to require a supermajority vote to suspend the rules for a second reading rather than a unanimous vote. In 2021, a similar piece of legislation was also defeated.