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AB 2647 – Changes Requirements For Posting Writings Distributed To A Local Agency Governing Board
AB 2647 reforms the public disclosure requirements under the Brown Act in light of a recent Court of Appeal decision.
In 2007, the Legislature enacted SB 343. That bill required that any writing related to an agenda item for a regular open session meeting of a legislative body that is distributed to all or a majority of the body’s members less than 72 hours before the meeting, must be made available for public inspection at a designated location at the time it is distributed to the members of the body. The agency must list the address of that location on the agenda for all meetings of the legislative body. SB 343 also authorized a local agency to additionally post the writing on the agency’s website.
In 2021, the Third District Court of Appeal issued a decision in Sierra Watch v. Placer County, a case that involved a Board of Supervisor meeting in 2011 to consider a proposed real estate development plan. After the agenda for the meeting had been posted, the development agreement was amended to address concerns the Attorney General raised about compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The County clerk received updated documentation after normal business hours on the day before the meeting, and immediately placed copies of the documentation in the County clerk’s office. That same evening the County clerk emailed the documents to Board members. The next day the Board met and approved the project. The Court of Appeal ultimately found that the County violated the requirements under SB 343, holding that because the County clerk’s office was closed when the documents were placed there, the documents were not “available to the public” until the next day, meaning the documents were not made available at the same time they were circulated to the Board.
AB 2647 revises the Brown Act to clarify that the public disclosure requirement for writings distributed to the legislative body within 72 hours of the meeting is satisfied by posting the documents online at the time the documents are distributed, so long as physical copies are made available for public inspection at the beginning of the next regular business day at the designated public office.
(AB 2647 amends Section 54957.5 of the Government Code.)