How to find out what’s going on with Madison’s local government
There are plenty of ways to keep tabs on and get involved with local government.
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A great first step to staying up to date is to get connected online. The City of Madison and its many departments maintain a number of email lists and social media accounts. From what side of the street to park on during a snow emergency to reminders to vote, the city’s social media accounts will keep you informed.
Tune in to the Madison Clerk’s Office during election season for helpful reminders and on point GIFs. The Madison Winter Twitter account will keep you parking on the right side of the street during snow emergencies, and the Engineering Division will let you know where all the construction street closures are.
The full collection of accounts can be found here.
To learn more about your neighborhood, subscribe to updates from your alder. Find out who represents you here.
For a weekly overview of what happens in Madison’s local government, check out the weekly meeting schedule. This system keeps track of agendas, meeting minutes, and legislation.
Some meetings are broadcasted on the City Channel while others meet in person. Virtual meetings can be viewed online or listened to over the phone. Details are posted on the meeting agenda as well as on the meeting schedule. The city also posts this list of meetings that can be viewed live online.
Meetings that are broadcasted can also be livestreamed on the Madison City Channel website or on the city’s YouTube channel. Here’s a list of meetings that City Channel regularly covers.
Voice your opinion
If you would like to voice your opinion on an issue raised during a city meeting, you can submit written comments or register to speak. Public comments for virtual meetings open when the meeting’s agenda is posted.
The top of meeting agendas will include directions for how to participate, whether that’s for a virtual or hybrid meeting. Written comments will be sent to a specified email address (it’s different for different groups). By registering, you can choose to speak, answer questions, or register in support or opposition to an agenda item without speaking. Meeting participants can register online here.
During City Council meetings, for example, pay close attention at the very beginning when alders will vote on the consent agenda. This is when a number of items are acted on in one fell time-saving swoop rather than separate motions.
A consent agenda document, like this one, will outline exceptions to the consent agenda, which include items that have registrants wishing to speak and items that alders have separated for discussion purposes, agenda items with recommendations different from the agenda, and items introduced from the floor.