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Government meeting information more accessible on Internet

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    NMU         CALIFORNIA

    NMU         CALIFORNIA         Freedom of Information         Oct 4, 1999    

Government meeting information more accessible on Internet

  • The governor of California signed into law new requirements for on-line notice of public meetings and an extension of the time period for filing complaints about closed meetings

California is turning to the Internet to make information about government meetings more accessible to the public.

In mid-September, Gov. Gray Davis signed into law a change to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act that will require notice of public meetings to be posted on the Internet 10 days prior to the meeting, with the minutes from emergency meetings to be published on-line for at least 10 days after the meeting.

Previously, notice of regular meetings was given only to people who had requested notice in writing. Notice of special and emergency meetings was originally given, under the act, by that method as well as by electronic bulletin boards and by telephone to anyone who had requested to be notified in advance.

The modifications, sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Shelley (D-San Francisco), go into effect July 1, 2001, in order to allow agencies time to acquire the necessary technology.

The law also extends from 30 days to 90 days the time period for filing a complaint about an alleged open-meeting violation. Previously under the act, a complaint seeking to overturn or to enjoin the results of an unlawful meeting had to be lodged within 30 days of the date of the meeting. This change was made, according to the legislative intent cited in the act, to supercede a 1999 California Supreme Court ruling that dismissed a case brought by a college journalist against former Gov. Pete Wilson and the state Board of Regents for an alleged violation of the Bagley-Keene Act because the it had not been brought within 30 days of an allegedly illegal meeting.

(A.B. 1234)


© 1999 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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