BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 2720
          Author:   Ting (D)
          Amended:  8/7/14 in Senate
          Vote:     21


           SENATE GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION COMMITTEE  :  8-0, 6/10/14
          AYES:  Correa, Cannella, De León, Galgiani, Hernandez, Padilla,  
            Torres, Vidak
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Berryhill, Lieu, Vacancy

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  78-0, 5/15/14 (Consent) - See last page for  
            vote 


           SUBJECT  :    State agencies:  meetings:  record of action taken

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill requires a state body to publicly report  
          any action taken at an open meeting, and the vote or abstention  
          on that action, of each member present for the action.

           Senate Floor Amendments  of 8/7/14 make a technical correction.

           ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law:

          1.Requires, under the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, all  
            meetings of a state body to be open and public, and that all  
            persons be permitted to attend and participate in any meeting  
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            of a state body.

          2.Defines a "state body" as each of the following:

             A.   Every state board, or commission, or similar multimember  
               body of the state that is created by statute or required by  
               law to conduct official meetings and every commission  
               created by executive order.

             B.   A board, commission, committee, or similar multimember  
               body that exercises any authority of a state body delegated  
               to it by that state body.

             C.   An advisory board, advisory commission, advisory  
               committee, advisory subcommittee, or similar multimember  
               advisory body of a state body, if created by formal action  
               of the state body or of any member of the state body, and  
               if the advisory body so created consists of three or more  
               persons.

             D.   A board, commission, committee, or similar multimember  
               body on which a member of a body that is a state body  
               pursuant to this section serves in his/her official  
               capacity as a representative of that state body and that is  
               supported, in whole or in part, by funds provided by the  
               state body, whether the multimember body is organized and  
               operated by the state body or by a private corporation.

          1.Defines "action taken" as a collective decision by the members  
            of a state body, a collective commitment or promise by the  
            members of the state body to make a positive or negative  
            decision or an actual vote by the members of a state body when  
            sitting as a body or entity upon a motion, proposal,  
            resolution, order or similar action.

          This bill requires a state body to publicly report any action  
          taken at an open meeting, and the vote or abstention on that  
          action, of each member present for the action.

           Background

          Bagley-Keene Act  .  When the Legislature enacted the Bagley-Keene  
          Act of 1967 it essentially said that when a body sits down to  
          develop its consensus, there needs to be a seat at the table  

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          reserved for the public.  In doing so, the Legislature has  
          provided the public with the ability to monitor and be part of  
          the decision-making process.  Bagley-Keene explicitly mandates  
          open meetings for California state agencies, boards, and  
          commissions.  It facilitates transparency of government  
          activities and protects the rights of citizens to participate in  
          state government deliberations.  Therefore, absent a specific  
          reason to keep the public out of meetings, the public should be  
          allowed to monitor and participate in the decision-making  
          process.  Similarly, California's Brown Act of 1953 protects  
          citizen's rights to open meetings at the local and county  
          government levels.

           Ralph M. Brown Act  .  Although Bagley-Keene ensures open meetings  
          at the state level, the Brown Act governs open meetings at the  
          local level.  Last year, the Legislature unanimously approved  
          and the Governor signed SB 751 (Yee, Chapter 257, Statutes of  
          2013) guaranteeing that local agencies publicly report the vote  
          of each member of their governing bodies on actions taken.  AB  
          2720 will make conforming changes to the Bagley-Keene Act to  
          ensure that all state boards and commissions are similarly held  
          accountable to the public they serve.

           Comments

           According to the author's office, existing law requires that the  
          meetings of state boards and commissions be open to the public,  
          so that their deliberations and actions are conducted in service  
          of the public's interest.  However, there is no specific  
          requirement that actions taken by state boards and commissions  
          during regular meetings are publicly reported and reveal vote or  
          abstention of each member present for the action.

          Consequently, there are multiple examples of state boards and  
          commissions that do not make this important information readily  
          accessible to the public.  Final votes are often reported, for  
          example, as 20 Ayes and 10 Noes, making it impossible to  
          determine how individual members, who represent different  
          industry interests, voted on the action taken.  Some votes do  
          not even report the final vote numerically, only reporting  
          whether the action passed or failed.  If a member of the public  
          was not able to attend the meeting, then it is impossible for  
          that individual to be wholly informed about the outcome of the  
          action taken.

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          The author's office states that this bill strengthens  
          California's commitment to open and transparent governance by  
          requiring all state boards and commissions to count, identify,  
          and publicly disclose all votes on actions taken during  
          meetings.  This bill will ensure that the public has complete  
          information about the decisions made by state bodies, so they  
          are held accountable to the public interest.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   Local:  
           No

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/7/14)

          California Newspaper Publishers Association
          California Taxpayers Association


           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    The California Taxpayers Association  
          states that all levels of government need to continue to promote  
          a transparent government.  Empowering people to engage in  
          government allows them to become stakeholders in the political  
          process.  Giving access, in turn, allows people to see how their  
          government is run, and how policymakers' decisions will impact  
          their lives.

          The California Newspaper Publishers Association states that the  
          need for this bill arose when several state agencies governed by  
          the Bagley-Keene Act, failed to conduct either a roll call vote  
          or a specific tally and report the votes of each member of the  
          boards.  Consequently, constituents found it difficult, if not  
          impossible to determine who voted for or against a measure when  
          the agencies took action.  This bill prevents anonymous voting  
          by large agencies and improves the ability of the public and  
          others who monitor legislative meetings of state agencies to be  
          certain of how members vote on an issue.  The costs associated  
          with the implementation of this bill will be minimal because the  
          task of identifying how a member votes is a simple one requiring  
          little, if any, effort by the agency to perform.

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  78-0, 5/15/14
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown, Buchanan, Ian  
            Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway, Cooley,  

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            Dababneh, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fong, Fox,  
            Frazier, Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gonzalez, Gordon,  
            Gorell, Gray, Grove, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández,  
            Holden, Jones, Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Logue, Lowenthal,  
            Maienschein, Medina, Melendez, Mullin, Muratsuchi, Nazarian,  
            Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, John A. Pérez, V.  
            Manuel Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Ridley-Thomas,  
            Rodriguez, Salas, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Wagner, Waldron,  
            Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams, Yamada, Atkins
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Mansoor, Vacancy


          MW:e  8/12/14   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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