The open meetings law does not grant citizens a right to participate in meetings of a governmental body.
There are, however, a number of state statutes which require governmental bodies to hold public hearings on specific matters. See for example, Wis. Stat. § 65.90(4) (requiring public hearing before adoption of a municipal budget) and Wis. Stat. § 66.46(4)(a) (requiring public hearing before creation of a tax incremental finance district). In the absence of such a statute, the governmental body itself is free to determine whether to allow citizen participation at its meetings.
Nor does a governmental body violate the open meetings law by limiting the degree to which citizens participate.
1997 Wisconsin Act 123, effective May 2, 1998, created Wis. Stat. §§ 19.83(2) and 19.84(2) to allow governmental bodies to receive information from members of the public if the public notice of the meeting designates a period of public comment.
That law also allows a governmental body to discuss, but not to act on
, any matter raised by the public during a comment period. Although discussion of a general public comment item is permissible, it is advisable to defer extensive discussion and action on such an item until specific notice of the subject matter of the proposed action can be given.