Today's Law As Amended


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

AB-339 Local government: open and public meetings.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Section 54953 of the Government Code is amended to read:

54953.
 (a) All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency,  agency in person,  except as otherwise provided in this chapter. Local agencies shall conduct meetings subject to this chapter consistent with applicable state and federal civil rights laws, including, but not limited to, the language access and other nondiscrimination obligations of Section 11135 and Subchapter V (commencing with Section 2000d) of Chapter 21 of Title 42 of the United States Code. 
(b) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the legislative body of a local agency may use teleconferencing for the benefit of the public and the legislative body of a local agency in connection with any meeting or proceeding authorized by law. The teleconferenced meeting or proceeding shall comply with all requirements of this chapter and all otherwise applicable provisions of law relating to a specific type of meeting or proceeding.
(2) Teleconferencing, as authorized by this section, may be used for all purposes in connection with any meeting within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body. All votes taken during a teleconferenced meeting shall be by rollcall.
(3) If the legislative body of a local agency elects to use teleconferencing, it shall post agendas at all teleconference locations and conduct teleconference meetings in a manner that protects the statutory and constitutional rights of the parties or the public appearing before the legislative body of a local agency. Each teleconference location shall be identified in the notice and agenda of the meeting or proceeding, and each teleconference location shall be accessible to the public. During the teleconference, at least a quorum of the members of the legislative body shall participate from locations within the boundaries of the territory over which the local agency exercises jurisdiction, except as provided in subdivision (d). The agenda shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to address the legislative body directly pursuant to Section 54954.3 at each teleconference location.
(4) For the purposes of this section, “teleconference” means a meeting of a legislative body, the members of which are in different locations, connected by electronic means, through either audio or video, or both. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a local agency from providing the public with additional teleconference locations.  
(c) (1) No legislative body shall take action by secret ballot, whether preliminary or final.
(2) The legislative body of a local agency shall publicly report any action taken and the vote or abstention on that action of each member present for the action.
(3) Prior to taking final action, the legislative body shall orally report a summary of a recommendation for a final action on the salaries, salary schedules, or compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits of a local agency executive, as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 3511.1, during the open meeting in which the final action is to be taken. This paragraph shall not affect the public’s right under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1) to inspect or copy records created or received in the process of developing the recommendation.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding the provisions relating to a quorum in paragraph (3) of subdivision (b), if a health authority conducts a teleconference meeting, members who are outside the jurisdiction of the authority may be counted toward the establishment of a quorum when participating in the teleconference if at least 50 percent of the number of members that would establish a quorum are present within the boundaries of the territory over which the authority exercises jurisdiction, and the health authority provides a teleconference number, and associated access codes, if any, that allows any person to call in to participate in the meeting and the number and access codes are identified in the notice and agenda of the meeting.
(2) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed as discouraging health authority members from regularly meeting at a common physical site within the jurisdiction of the authority or from using teleconference locations within or near the jurisdiction of the authority. A teleconference meeting for which a quorum is established pursuant to this subdivision shall be subject to all other requirements of this section.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, a health authority means any entity created pursuant to Sections 14018.7, 14087.31, 14087.35, 14087.36, 14087.38, and 14087.9605 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, any joint powers authority created pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 6500) of Chapter 5 of Division 7 for the purpose of contracting pursuant to Section 14087.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and any advisory committee to a county sponsored  county-sponsored  health plan licensed pursuant to Chapter 2.2 (commencing with Section 1340) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code if the advisory committee has 12 or more members.

SEC. 2.

 Section 54953.9 is added to the Government Code, to read:

54953.9.
 (a) A city council or a county board of supervisors that governs a jurisdiction containing at least 250,000 people shall comply with the following requirements:
(1) (A) All open and public meetings shall include an opportunity for members of the public to attend via a two-way telephonic option or a two-way internet-based service option.
(B) If a city council or a county board of supervisors elects to provide a two-way internet-based service option, the local agency shall publicly post and provide a call-in option, and activate any automatic captioning function during the meeting if an automatic captioning function is included with the system.
(2) (A) If a city council or county board of supervisors has, as of June 15, 2021, provided video streaming of at least one open and public meeting, the city council or county board of supervisors shall continue to provide that video streaming.
(B) “Video streaming” means media in which the data from a live filming or a video file is continuously delivered via the internet to a remote user, allowing a video to be viewed online by the public without being downloaded on a host computer or device.
(3) (A) Unless there are any laws that prohibit in-person government meetings in the case of a declared state of emergency, including a public health emergency, all open and public meetings shall include an in-person public comment opportunity, wherein members of the public can report to a designated site to give public comment in person. The location of the designated site and any relevant instructions on in-person commenting shall be included with the public posting of the agenda.
(B) All open and public meetings shall provide the public with an opportunity to comment on proposed legislation via a two-way telephonic or internet-based service option, and ensure the opportunity for the members of the public participating via a two-way telephonic or internet-based option to comment on agenda items with the same time allotment as a person attending a meeting in person.
(b) This section shall remain in effect only until December 31, 2023, and as of that date is repealed.
SEC. 3.
 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district under this act would result either from a legislative mandate that is within the scope of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, or because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SEC. 4.
 The Legislature finds and declares that Sections 1 and 2 of this act, which amends Section 54953 of, and adds Section 54953.9 to, the Government Code, furthers, within the meaning of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the purposes of that constitutional section as it relates to the right of public access to the meetings of local public bodies or the writings of local public officials and local agencies. Pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the Legislature makes the following findings:
The provisions of the act allow for greater public access through requiring specified entities to provide a telephonic or internet-based service option and instructions on how to access these options to the public for specified meetings.
SEC. 5.
 The Legislature finds and declares that improving accessibility to open and public meetings of local legislative bodies is a matter of statewide concern and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution. Therefore, Section 2 of this act adding Section 54953.9 to the Government Code applies to all cities and counties, including charter cities and counties.