Levine Legislation on Local Government Transparency Passes the State Legislature

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) - Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D - Marin County) to increase local government transparency by allowing the online posting of supplementary documents has been approved by the California State Legislature and is awaiting action on the Governor’s Desk. AB 2647 was approved by the State Senate on a bipartisan vote of 38 to 0 and approved by the State Assembly on a bipartisan vote of 71 to 0.

The Brown Act has been a foundational government transparency measure that helps guarantee the public’s access to open meetings of local legislative bodies, and it requires that any supplementary writings that have been distributed to a majority of a local government’s legislative body must be distributed to the public at the same time. Many local governments have posted supplementary materials, which might include documents that were not available or ready at the time the agenda was released, or a Powerpoint presentation that will be used during a meeting, online in order to satisfy the requirements of the Brown Act. However, a recent court case has limited the ability for local governments to post supplementary meeting materials online.

AB 2647 would allow for the immediate online posting of supplementary documents, as long as they are provided in-person at a local agency’s office the next business day. The bill would maintain the foundations of the Brown Act, but provides balance to ensure that the public is kept informed and engaged on decisions made by local government, while also maximizing transparency.

“AB 2647 is an important measure to maximize transparency for local governments”, said Assemblymember Marc Levine. “As someone who started their career in local government, I remember the voluminous amounts of information presented to us prior to meetings. This bill would help ensure that members of local government agencies and the public have immediate access to newly released information, while ensuring that those who don’t have internet access have adequate in person access. This measure will maximize transparency.”

“Public access and transparency are core values of local democracy,” said League of California Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman. “AB 2647 ensures local legislative bodies have the flexibility they need to immediately share documents online and without delay, expanding the ability of the public and local governments alike to be informed and engaged.”

AB 2647 is supported by the League of California Cities, and a large coalition of local government groups, such as the Rural County Representatives of California, Association of California School Administrators, Association of California Healthcare Districts, Association of California Water Agencies, California Association of Joint Powers Authorities for IHHS, California Special District Association, California State Association of Counties, City Clerk’s Association of California, Los Angeles Unified School District, Marin County Council of Mayors and Councilmembers, Urban Counties of California, the Cities of Goleta, Oceanside, and Palo Alto, and many others.

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