RCRC, in coalition with government partners, has expressed its support for Assembly Bill 2647, authored by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-Marin County), which alleviates administrative delays by allowing documents to be shared online with a Brown Act legislative body and the public as long as the documents are later made available in person.
Recently, the Third District Court of Appeals held that posting meeting documents online does not satisfy this requirement of the Brown Act, and that local governments must place physical copies of the document in a designated office open to the public.
Requiring physical access at a public location as the only way to satisfy the Brown Act could impair the conduct of the people’s business. Without a legislative solution, the Court’s decision requires local agencies to keep an office open to the public during evenings and/or weekends when written material is distributed. Late breaking information would have to be withheld from the legislative body and the public until an office is open, which could impact the ability of a legislative body to be best informed given the reduced time to consider additional information.
This measure, with recent amendments, would clarify that writings distributed to the majority of a local legislative body less than 72 hours before a meeting can be posted online to satisfy the Brown Act if physical copies are made available for public inspection 24 hours prior to the meeting and that distributed materials are supplemental documents to an agenda item with a staff report or executive summary.
By reducing delays, the public and the legislative body will be better informed to engage in the meeting with the flexibility and transparency this measure provides. RCRC provided lead testimony in support of AB 2647 in the Senate Government and Finance Committee on June 30th, where the bill passed out of committee unanimously.