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AB-2028 State agencies: meetings.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/20/2020 06:24 PM
AB2028:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 20, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  July 28, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  July 08, 2020
Amended  IN  Assembly  June 04, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2028


Introduced by Assembly Member Aguiar-Curry
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Gonzalez)

January 30, 2020


An act to amend Sections 11125 and Section 11125.7 of the Government Code, relating to public meetings.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2028, as amended, Aguiar-Curry. State agencies: meetings.

Existing law, the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, requires that all meetings of a state body, as defined, be open and public, and that all persons be permitted to attend any meeting of a state body, except as otherwise provided in that act. Existing law requires the state body to provide notice of its meeting, including specified information and a specific agenda of the meeting, as provided, to any person who requests that notice in writing and to make that notice available on the internet at least 10 days in advance of the meeting.

This bill would, except for closed sessions, require that this notice include all writings or materials provided for the noticed meeting to a member of the state body by staff of a state agency, board, or commission, or another member of the state body, that are in connection with a matter subject to discussion or consideration at the meeting. The bill would prescribe requirements to be satisfied in order for these writings or materials to be distributed or discussed. The bill would generally require that these writings and materials be made available on the body’s internet website no later than the first business day after they are provided to members of the state body or at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting, whichever is earlier, and to be provided immediately upon written request. If the writings or materials are provided to the members of the state body by another state body after this 48-hour deadline, the bill would require that they be posted on the body’s internet website no later than the first business day, but prior to the meeting of the state body, following the dissemination of the writings and materials to the members of the state body, and made available immediately upon written request. The bill would except writings or materials relating to matters to be discussed in a closed session and state financial materials, as defined, that put the Treasurer, or specified entities for which the Treasurer serves as chairperson, at a competitive disadvantage in financial transactions from its requirements. The bill would authorize a state body to post and provide additional time-sensitive materials related to certain active legislation, as specified, and changing financial market conditions as they become available, as specified. Upon receipt of a written request, the bill would require that these writings or materials be provided immediately.

Existing law law, the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, requires that a state body provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the body on each agenda item. Existing law exempts from this requirement, among other things, an agenda item that has already been considered by a committee composed exclusively of members of the state body at a public meeting where members of the public were afforded an opportunity to address the committee on the item.
This bill would delete this exception, thereby making the requirement to provide an opportunity to address the state body applicable to an agenda item for which the public had an opportunity to address it at a public meeting of a committee of the state body.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) The Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code) (hereafter “Bagley-Keene”) was intended to implement Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, which states in part, “The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.”
(b) Bagley-Keene was written to protect public meetings and public notice and to ensure the transparency of actions taken by state agencies, boards, and commissions.
(c) Californians have the right to participate in state body deliberations. This includes the public’s ability to comment on all agenda items discussed at a meeting of the state body, regardless of whether an item has been discussed previously in a committee of the state body.
(d) The purpose of public notice is so that state bodies give the public adequate time for review of the substance of a state body meeting and for comment.
(e) Public notice must also include any writings or materials provided by a state body’s staff or by a member of the state body to other members of the state body for a noticed meeting of the body.
(f) Bagley-Keene affirms these rights by stating in Section 11120 of the Government Code, “The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”
SEC. 2.Section 11125 of the Government Code is amended to read:
11125.

(a)The state body shall provide notice of its meeting to any person who requests that notice in writing. Notice shall be given and also made available on the internet website at least 10 days in advance of the meeting, and shall include the name, address, and telephone number of any person who can provide further information prior to the meeting, but need not include a list of witnesses expected to appear at the meeting. The written notice shall additionally include the address of the internet website where notices required by this article are made available.

(b)The notice of a meeting of a body that is a state body shall include a specific agenda for the meeting, containing a brief description of the items of business to be transacted or discussed in either open or closed session. A brief general description of an item generally need not exceed 20 words. A description of an item to be transacted or discussed in closed session shall include a citation of the specific statutory authority under which a closed session is being held. No item shall be added to the agenda subsequent to the provision of this notice, unless otherwise permitted by this article.

(c)(1)Any notice provided pursuant to subdivision (a) shall include all writings or materials provided for the noticed meeting to a member of the state body by the staff of that state agency, board, or commission, or another member of the state body, that are in connection with a matter subject to discussion or consideration at the meeting. A state body may distribute or discuss writings or materials only to the extent that it has complied with the applicable requirements of this subdivision.

(2)(A)The writings or materials to be considered at a noticed meeting and provided to members of the state body in advance of the meeting shall be made available on the body’s internet website no later than the first business day following the dissemination of the writings and materials to members of the state body or at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting, whichever is earlier. Upon receipt of a written request for writings or materials provided to members of the state body in advance of the meeting, a state body shall provide them immediately.

(B)Any writings or materials provided to the members of the state body by another state body after the time periods described in subparagraph (A) have passed shall be posted on the body’s internet website no later than the first business day, but prior to the meeting of the state body, following the dissemination of the writings and materials to the members of the state body. Upon receipt of a written request, these writings or materials shall be provided immediately. A state body that satisfies the requirements of this subparagraph may discuss these writings and materials at an otherwise properly noticed meeting.

(3)(A)This subdivision does not apply to writings or materials prepared for a matter to be discussed in a closed session of the state body or to state financial materials that put the Treasurer, or any of the boards, authorities, commissions, committees, and councils for which the Treasurer serves as chairperson, at a competitive disadvantage in financial transactions.

(B)For purposes of this paragraph, “financial materials” mean documents related to bonds, loans, and grants.

(4)If the writings or materials described in paragraph (1) on an agenda for discussion at a meeting of the state body are related to legislation that is before the Legislature in a current legislative session or are related to changing financial market conditions, a state body shall satisfy the requirements of this subdivision by posting on its internet website the writings and materials related to the legislation or the changing market conditions as they become available after the time periods described in paragraph (2). Upon receipt of a written request, these writings or materials shall be provided immediately. The state body shall make clear what date the new or changed writings or materials are posted and, when applicable, what changes have been made in the writings or materials.

(d)Notice of a meeting of a state body that complies with this section shall also constitute notice of a meeting of an advisory body of that state body, provided that the business to be discussed by the advisory body is covered by the notice of the meeting of the state body, provided that the specific time and place of the advisory body’s meeting is announced during the open and public state body’s meeting, and provided that the advisory body’s meeting is conducted within a reasonable time of, and nearby, the meeting of the state body.

(e)A person may request, and shall be provided, notice pursuant to subdivision (a) for all meetings of a state body or for a specific meeting or meetings. In addition, at the state body’s discretion, a person may request, and may be provided, notice of only those meetings of a state body at which a particular subject or subjects specified in the request will be discussed.

(f)A request for notice of more than one meeting of a state body shall be subject to the provisions of Section 14911.

(g)The notice shall be made available in appropriate alternative formats, as required by Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132), and the federal rules and regulations adopted in implementation thereof, upon request by any person with a disability. The notice shall include information regarding how, to whom, and by when a request for any disability-related modification or accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services may be made by a person with a disability who requires these aids or services in order to participate in the public meeting.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 Section 11125.7 of the Government Code is amended to read:

11125.7.
 (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the state body shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the state body on each agenda item before or during the state body’s discussion or consideration of the item. Every notice for a special meeting at which action is proposed to be taken on an item shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the state body concerning that item prior to action on the item. In addition, the notice requirement of Section 11125 shall not preclude the acceptance of testimony at meetings, other than emergency meetings, from members of the public if no action is taken by the state body at the same meeting on matters brought before the body by members of the public.
(b) The state body may adopt reasonable regulations to ensure that the intent of subdivision (a) is carried out, including, but not limited to, regulations limiting the total amount of time allocated for public comment on particular issues and for each individual speaker.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), when a state body limits time for public comment the state body shall provide at least twice the allotted time to a member of the public who utilizes a translator to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to directly address the state body.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply if the state body utilizes simultaneous translation equipment in a manner that allows the state body to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously.
(d) The state body shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, programs, or services of the state body, or of the acts or omissions of the state body. Nothing in this subdivision shall confer any privilege or protection for expression beyond that otherwise provided by law.
(e) This section is not applicable to any of the following:
(1) Closed sessions held pursuant to Section 11126.
(2) Decisions regarding proceedings held pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500), relating to administrative adjudication, or to the conduct of those proceedings.
(3) Hearings conducted by the California Victim Compensation Board pursuant to Sections 13963 and 13963.1.
(4) Agenda items that involve decisions of the Public Utilities Commission regarding adjudicatory hearings held pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1701) of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Public Utilities Code. For all other agenda items, the commission shall provide members of the public, other than those who have already participated in the proceedings underlying the agenda item, an opportunity to directly address the commission before or during the commission’s consideration of the item.