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Frequently Asked Questions

The City Council, city manager, a city department, a citizen or a group can request resolutions and ordinances

Legislative Process


The City Council, city manager, city department, citizen or group may request resolutions and ordinances. Resolutions and ordinances are the tools the City Council uses to implement policies. Resolutions state the opinion or the feeling of the City Council and are used to dictate policy to city employees, congratulate an organization or a person, express sorrow at the death of a respected person or urge another governmental body to take a desired action. An ordinance authorizes the spending of city money, sets tax levies or establishes regulations that govern the actions of City agencies and citizens.

Matters before the City Council are read three times, once each week for three weeks. A reading consists of reciting the number of the resolution or ordinance and a brief description of its purpose. When a measure is introduced (the first reading), it is assigned to one of the council committees. These committees hold weekly public hearings as necessary to receive testimony from people who support or oppose the resolutions or ordinances. Testimony helps the committees decide to recommend passage or defeat an issue.


After a committee reaches a decision on a resolution or ordinance, it is returned to the full City Council. The following week, the ordinance or resolution is read for the third time and unless there is some delay, the full City Council then votes on the measure. Most ordinances and resolutions require only seven votes for passage.


An ordinance usually goes into effect 10 days after passage. The City Council may declare an ordinance an emergency measure, in which case it goes into effect immediately.

The City Council often bypasses the required three readings, which it may do if at least nine members agree and the ordinance does not make a grant, renew a franchise or regulate a utility charge.


City Council Legislative Sessions


The City Council holds legislative sessions every Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Council Chamber on the 26th floor of City Hall. Prior to the legislative session, the council may hold a business session to discuss ordinances or resolutions slated for a vote that day. Business sessions are held every Thursday in the Committee Room on the 10th floor of City Hall at 1:45 p.m. The public may to attend these meetings, but public testimony is heard only at committee sessions.


All committee meetings and legislative sessions are aired on the city government channel, KCCG-TV2. Residents of Kansas City, Mo., who subscribe to Time Warner Cable and Everest Connections have access to the station’s programming 24 hours a day. Watch the channel is available online, as well as its video archives.