Bill Text

PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-684 California Coastal Commission: ex parte communications: database.(2017-2018)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 07/18/2017 09:00 PM
AB684:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  July 18, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  June 29, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 20, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 684


Introduced by Assembly Member Mark Stone
(Principal coauthor: Senator Atkins)
(Coauthor: Senator Allen)

February 15, 2017


An act to amend, repeal, and add Section 30324 of the Public Resources Code, relating to coastal resources.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 684, as amended, Mark Stone. California Coastal Commission: ex parte communications: database.
The California Coastal Act of 1976 establishes the California Coastal Commission, and prescribes the membership and functions and duties of the commission. For purposes of the act, an “ex parte communication” is defined as any oral or written communication between a member of the commission and an interested person, as defined, about a matter within the commission’s jurisdiction, as defined, that does not occur in a public hearing, workshop, or other official proceeding or on the official record of the proceeding on the matter, excluding certain communications, including communications between a staff member acting in his or her official capacity and any commission member or interested person, as prescribed. The act prohibits a commission member and an interested person from conducting an ex parte communication unless the member fully discloses and makes public the ex parte communication by providing a full report of the communication to the executive director of the commission within 7 days after the communication or, if the communication occurs within 7 days of the next commission hearing, to the commission on the record of the proceeding at that hearing.
This bill would, as of July 1, 2018, delete the requirement that the commission member provide a full report of the communication to the executive director of the commission within 7 days after the communication or, if the communication occurs within 7 days of the next commission hearing, to the commission on the record of the proceeding at that hearing. The bill would instead prohibit ex parte communication unless the commission member complies with specified requirements, including verbally disclosing at the hearing all ex parte communications that occurred on any given item to be heard at the hearing, including the identity of the person or persons engaging in the communication, prior to that item being heard at the hearing.
This bill would additionally require the commission, no later than July 1, 2018, to develop, implement, and maintain a publicly searchable database for the online reporting of ex parte communications required to be disclosed pursuant to these provisions. The bill would require that the database be regularly updated to include all information pertaining to an ex parte communication between a commission member and an interested person, and that any disclosure of an ex parte communication be made available to the public on the online database within 7 days from the date the communication takes place. The bill would require that, for ex parte communications that take place less than 7 days prior to the hearing on the matter, the disclosure be posted on the online database prior to the beginning of the meeting hearing at which the matter to which the communication pertains will be discussed. The bill would require the commission member to be personally responsible for ensuring the database is updated with their ex parte communications, as prescribed.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 30324 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

30324.
 (a) No commission member, nor any interested person, shall conduct an ex parte communication unless the commission member fully discloses and makes public the ex parte communication by providing a full report of the communication to the executive director within seven days after the communication or, if the communication occurs within seven days of the next commission hearing, to the commission on the record of the proceeding at that hearing.
(b) (1) The commission shall adopt standard disclosure forms for reporting ex parte communications that shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following information:
(A) The date, time, and location of the communication.
(B) (i) The identity of the person or persons initiating and the person or persons receiving the communication.
(ii) The identity of the person on whose behalf the communication was made.
(iii) The identity of all persons present during the communication.
(C) A complete, comprehensive description of the content of the ex parte communication, including a complete set of all text and graphic material that was part of the communication.
(2) The executive director shall place in the public record any report of an ex parte communication.
(c) Communications shall cease to be ex parte communications when fully disclosed and placed in the commission’s official record.
(d) (1) The commission shall, no later than July 1, 2018, develop, implement, and maintain a publicly searchable database for the online reporting of ex parte communications required to be disclosed pursuant to this section, containing the information required in subdivision (b). The database shall be regularly updated to include all information pertaining to ex parte communications between commission members and interested persons, and any disclosure of an ex parte communication shall be made available to the public on the online database prior to the beginning of the meeting hearing at which the matter to which the ex parte communication pertains will be discussed.
(2) Commission members shall verbally disclose at the hearing all ex parte communications that occurred on any given item to be heard at the hearing, including the identity of the person or persons engaging in the communication, prior to that item being heard at the hearing.
(e) This section shall remain in effect only until July 1, 2018, and as of January 1, 2019, is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 30324 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

30324.
 (a) No commission member, nor any interested person, shall conduct an ex parte communication unless the commission member fully discloses and makes public the ex parte communication pursuant to the requirements of this section.
(b) The commission shall adopt standard disclosure forms for reporting ex parte communications that shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following information:
(1) The date, time, and location of the communication.
(2) (A) The identity of the person or persons initiating and the person or persons receiving the communication.
(B) The identity of the person on whose behalf the communication was made.
(C) The identity of all persons present during the communication.
(3) A complete, comprehensive description of the content of the ex parte communication, including a complete set of all text and graphic material that was part of the communication.
(c) Communications shall cease to be ex parte communications when fully disclosed and placed in the commission’s official record.
(d) (1) The commission shall develop, implement, and maintain a publicly searchable database for the online reporting of ex parte communications required to be disclosed pursuant to this section, containing the information required in subdivision (b). The database shall be regularly updated to include all information pertaining to ex parte communications between commission members and interested persons. All disclosures of an ex parte communication shall be made available to the public on the online database within seven days of the date the communication takes place. For ex parte communications that take place less than seven days prior to the hearing on the matter, the communications shall be posted on the online database prior to the beginning of the meeting hearing at which the matter to which the ex parte communication pertains will be discussed.
(2) Commission members shall be personally responsible for ensuring the database is updated with their ex parte communications. The commission shall provide training and technical support to a commissioner, upon request.
(3) Commission members shall verbally disclose at the hearing that all ex parte communications that have occurred on any given item to be heard at the hearing are available on the database, prior to that item being heard at the hearing.
(e) If, due to a problem with the server on which the database is managed, a commission member is unable to post an ex parte communication on the database at least two days prior to the hearing on the matter, the commission member shall state the reason for the inability to post notice of the ex parte communication and shall verbally disclose the ex parte communication on the record of the hearing prior to that item being heard at the hearing. A record of the ex parte communication shall also be posted on the database as soon as possible after any database problem is resolved.
(f) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2018.