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Legislation loosening teleconference requirements for state agencies gets Assembly nod

Legislation loosening teleconference requirements for state agencies gets Assembly nod

A measure that would allow advisory committees covered by the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act to provide shorter notice before holding a teleconference meeting was passed by the Assembly on a 73-0 vote.

AB 2958 by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), was introduced to “modernize” the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act and would have eliminated the requirement in existing law that a state agency identify on its meeting agenda every location where members participate remotely in a teleconferenced meeting at least 10 days prior to the meeting. The current law also requires each member joining the teleconferenced meeting from a remote location to allow members of the public to participate from each location.

The bill was amended after CNPA objected to the total elimination of the notice for all Bagley-Keene bodies.

Instead of requiring the location to be identified on the meeting agenda the bill would require the advisory committee to provide separate notice at least 24 hours before the meeting in which members would be participating remotely.

The new standard could only be used when at least a quorum of the members of the advisory committee participate live in a physical location accessible by members of the public and that location would be required to be listed on the agenda. Moreover, agencies would be required to inform members of the public how they can participate in the teleconference via a web site or a call-in number.

CNPA will continue to work with the author to amend the bill further with the goal of removing its opposition.

AB 2958 will next be heard by the Senate Government Organization Committee in the next few weeks.