Bill allowing limited use of social media by Brown Act bodies heads to Governor
Legislation that would allow members of a local agency to communicate with constituents via social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter was passed by the Senate and Assembly after late amendments. The votes were 33-6 and 69-0 respectively. AB 992 by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) was recently amended in the Senate which removed CNPA’s opposition to the measure. Specifically, the bill would:
- Provide that the Brown Act’s prohibition on serial communications shall not be construed to prevent a member of a local agency’s legislative body from engaging in communications on an internet-based social media platform to answer questions, provide information to the public, or solicit information from the public regarding matters in its jurisdiction provided that members do not discuss among themselves business of a specific nature within their jurisdiction.
- Prohibit members of a legislative body from responding directly to any communication on an Internet-based social media platform regarding a matter within their subject matter jurisdiction from another member of the legislative body.
- Define “discuss among themselves” to mean communications made, posted, or shared on an Internet-based social media platform between members of a legislative body, including comments or use of digital icons made by other members.
- Define “internet-based social media platform” to mean an online service that is open and accessible to the public.
- Define “open and accessible to the public” to mean the members of the general public have the ability to access and participate on the platform without approval by the platform or any other person, including any forum and chatroom, and cannot be blocked from doing so, except when the platform determines that an individual violated its protocols or rules.
- Repeal its provisions on January 1, 2026.
Governor Newsom has not yet taken a position on the bill.