On March 17, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-29-20 (amending Executive Order N-25-20 in part), which allows local or state legislative bodies to hold meetings via teleconference and to make meetings accessible electronically without violating the open meeting laws found in the Bagley-Keene Act or the Brown Act.
The new Order states:
Paragraph 11 of Executive Order N-25-20 (March 12, 2020) is withdrawn and superseded by the following text:
Notwithstanding any other provision of state or local law (including, but not limited to, the Bagley-Keene Act or the Brown Act), and subject to the notice and accessibility requirements set forth below, a local legislative body or state body is authorized to hold public meetings via teleconferencing and to make public meetings accessible telephonically or otherwise electronically to all members of the public seeking to observe and to address the local legislative body or state body. All requirements in both the Bagley-Keene Act and the Brown Act expressly or impliedly requiring the physical presence of members, the clerk or other personnel of the body, or of the public as a condition of participation in or quorum for a public meeting are hereby waived.
The provisions then go on to explicitly outline requirements for telephonic/electronic meetings. This Order departs from last week’s Order which required one publicly accessible location where members of the public could attend the meeting and provide comment. Provided the meeting is properly noticed, agencies may now conduct public meetings entirely by teleconference or other electronic means.
The full text of Order N-29-20 can be found at the above link, and Nossaman attorneys are available to assist with any questions which may arise as a result of this revision, as well as with any other issues concerning COVID-19.
Alfred Smith, chair of Nossaman's Water Group, is a recognized expert in water, environmental, transportation and public agency law. A graduate of the Harvard Law School, he has successfully litigated multiple water right ...
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