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CITY OF <br />F NEWPORT REACH <br />City Council Staff Report <br />January 13, 2015 <br />Agenda Item No. 13 <br />TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL <br />FROM: Aaron Harp, City Attorney — (949) 644 -3131, aharp <br />PREPARED BY: Michael Torres, Assistant City Attorney <br />PHONE: (949) 644 -3131 <br />TITLE: Change to the City Council's Invocation Policy (A -19) <br />ABSTRACT: <br />The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued an opinion in Town of Greece v. Galloway, 134 S.Ct. 1811 (2014) <br />that "absent a pattern of prayers that over time denigrate, proselytize, or betray an impermissible <br />government purpose..." an invocation policy passes constitutional muster. The U.S. Supreme Court <br />further held that government should refrain from censoring invocations in advance by prohibiting speakers <br />from referencing specific religions or deities. As a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's holding, the City <br />Council may wish to update its existing City Council Invocation Policy (A -19) to reflect the current state of <br />the law and remove restrictions that prohibit a speaker from referring to a specific religion or deity in his /her <br />invocation. This was a specific request of Council Member Peotter at the December 9, 2014 Council <br />meeting. <br />RECOMMENDATION: <br />Should the Council wish to do so, adopt Resolution No. 2015 -4, A Resolution of the City Council of the City <br />of Newport Beach Adopting a Revised City Council Policy Regarding Invocations (City Council Policy A -19) <br />at City of Newport Beach ( "City ") meetings. <br />FUNDING REQUIREMENTS: <br />There are no anticipated funding impacts associated with the adoption of the attached resolution. <br />DISCUSSION: <br />The City Council, like other legislative bodies in America, has a tradition of solemnizing proceedings by <br />allowing for an opening prayer before each meeting. The City Council intends, and has intended in past <br />practice, to adopt a policy that does not proselytize or advance any faith, or show any purposeful <br />preference of one religious view to the exclusion of others. <br />13 -1 <br />