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AB-185 Open and public meetings: televised meetings.(2013-2014)

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Corrected  April 30, 2013
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 23, 2013
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2013
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 02, 2013
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 11, 2013

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 185


Introduced by Assembly Member Roger Hernández

January 28, 2013


An act to amend Section 54953.5 of the Government Code, relating to local government.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 185, as amended, Roger Hernández. Open and public meetings: televised meetings.
The Ralph M. Brown Act requires that an audio or video recording of an open and public meeting made at the direction of a local agency is subject to inspection pursuant to the California Public Records Act and may be erased or destroyed 30 days after the recording. Existing law requires that any inspection of an audio or video recording shall be provided without charge on equipment made available by the local agency.
The Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 provides that cities, counties, cities and counties, or joint powers authorities receive state franchise fees in exchange for the use of public rights-of-way for the delivery of cable and video services provided within their jurisdictions, based on gross revenues, pursuant to a specified formula, from state franchise holders that provide public, educational, and governmental access (PEG) channels.
The bill would provide that an audio or video recording of an open and public meeting made at the direction of a local agency may be erased or destroyed 2 years after the recording.
The bill would require a local agency that collects a franchise fee from the holder of a state franchise that provides PEG channels to televise the open and public meetings of its legislative body and planning commission, and, if it is financially feasible, to televise the open and public meetings of any of its advisory committees unless the local agency can prove a financial hardship, unless doing so would result in a financial hardship, as defined, in which case the local agency would be required to broadcast the meetings via an audio-visual electronic medium or an audio medium, as specified. The bill would also authorize the use of the franchise fees to televise the open and public meetings of the local agency and to cover the necessary expenses, as defined, for implementing the televising of the local agency’s open and public meetings. The bill would authorize, if franchise fee moneys in excess of that necessary to televise these meetings are available, the use of such fees to provide live streaming of these meetings on the Internet.
By imposing new duties on local public officials to televise open and public meetings, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) There have been over 50 public access channel closures in California municipalities. Seven of those municipalities are found within the boundaries of the 48th Assembly District.
(b) Unfortunately, many local governments are not utilizing General Fund moneys or franchise fees for support, in addition to public, educational, and governmental access (PEG) channel funds, for the operation of public access television. Not televising open meetings or providing public access television is a threat to accessing public information in a readily available medium.
(c) PEG channels permit schools, governments, individuals, and groups to provide and receive information about local events, emergencies, and issues. PEG channels encourage the creation of local programming not only by local municipalities but by civic groups and nonprofits to promote localism and civic engagement.

SEC. 2.

 Section 54953.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

54953.5.
 (a) A person attending an open and public meeting of a legislative body of a local agency shall have the right to record the proceedings with an audio or video recorder or a still or motion picture camera in the absence of a reasonable finding by the legislative body of the local agency that the recording cannot continue without noise, illumination, or obstruction of view that constitutes, or would constitute, a persistent disruption of the proceedings.
(b) An audio or video recording of an open and public meeting made at the direction of the local agency shall be subject to inspection pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1), but, notwithstanding Section 34090, may be erased or destroyed two years after the recording. An inspection of an audio or video recording shall be provided without charge on equipment made available by the local agency.
(c) (1) A local agency that collects a franchise fee adopted pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (q) of Section 5840 of the Public Utilities Code from the holder of a state franchise that provides public, educational, and governmental access (PEG) channels shall televise the open and public meetings of its legislative body and planning commission unless the local agency can prove a financial hardship. As used in this paragraph, “financial hardship” means that the cost of broadcasting is greater than the amount of franchise fees collected annually. If it is financially feasible to do so, it shall also televise the open and public meetings of its advisory committees that are governed by this chapter.
(A) If a local agency has received bids from private entities and at least one nonprofit organization for televising the open and public meetings of its legislative body and planning commission and accepting the lowest bid would result in financial hardship, the local agency shall use another audio-visual electronic medium, such as online streaming video, to broadcast the open and public meetings of its legislative body and planning commission.
(B) If, due to additional demonstrable hardship, it is not feasible for a local agency to broadcast the open and public meetings of its legislative body and planning commission via an audio-visual electronic medium, the local agency shall broadcast the meetings via an audio medium.
(2) The Legislature strongly encourages local agencies to partner with nonprofit organizations, institutes of higher learning, school districts, and other outside organizations in their efforts to comply with paragraph (1).

(2)

(3) A local agency may utilize any portion of franchise fees collected from the holder of a state franchise pursuant to subdivision (q) of Section 5840 of the Public Utilities Code to televise the open and public meetings of the local agency, including, but not limited to, any necessary expenses for implementing the televising of the local agency’s open and public meetings.

(3)

(4) If there are franchise fee moneys available in excess of the amount necessary to televise open and public meetings as required under paragraph (1), the local agency may use that money to fund live streaming of its open and public meetings on the Internet.
(5)  As used in this subdivision, “financial hardship” means that the cost of broadcasting the open and public meetings of the legislative body and planning commission is greater than the amount of franchise fees collected annually.

(4)

(6) As used in this subdivision, “necessary expenses” includes, but is not limited to, the hiring of personnel, the purchase and maintenance of equipment, or the rental or leasing of production facilities.

SEC. 3.

  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.
However, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains other costs mandated by the state for which the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments is insufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.
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