BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1284


                                                                    Page  1





          Date of Hearing:  April 6, 2015


                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION


                                 Jim Frazier, Chair


          AB 1284  
          (Baker) - As Introduced February 27, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Bay Area state-owned toll bridges:  Toll Bridge  
          Program Oversight Committee


          SUMMARY:  Repeals provisions that exempt the Toll Bridge Project  
          Oversight Committee (TBPOC) from open meeting laws. 


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Directs the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and  
            the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to  
            establish the TBPOC to consist of the Caltrans director, MTC's  
            executive director, and the executive director of the  
            California Transportation Commission (CTC).


          2)Assigns TBPOC with the responsibility to:  review the Toll  
            Bridge Seismic Safety Retrofit Program's project status,  
            costs, and schedules; resolve project issues; evaluate project  
            changes; develop and regularly update cost estimates, risk  
            assessments, and cash flow requirements; and provide program  
            direction.  










                                                                    AB 1284


                                                                    Page  2





          3)Specifically exempts TBPOC from state and local open meeting  
            laws.


          4)Declares that it is California's policy that public agencies  
            exist to aid in the conduct of the people's business and that  
            the proceedings of public agencies should be conducted openly  
            so that the public may remain informed.





          5)Generally requires, under the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act,  
            that all meetings of a state body, as defined, be open and  
            public and that all persons be permitted to attend and  
            participate in any meeting of a state body.

          6)Similarly requires, under the Ralph M. Brown Act, that all  
            meetings of a local government body be open and public and  
            that all persons be permitted to attend and participate in any  
            meeting. 



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown





          COMMENTS:  AB 144 (Hancock), Chapter 71, Statutes of 2005,  
          established TBPOC to provide project oversight and project  
          control for the Toll Bridge Seismic Safety Retrofit Program in  
          California.  Provisions of AB 144 specifically exempted the  
          committee from both state and local agency open meeting act  
          requirements for reasons that are not clear from the bill's  
          historical documents.  









                                                                    AB 1284


                                                                    Page  3






          The author introduced this bill to provide more transparency to  
          TBPOC deliberations.  The author cites problems that have  
          plagued the East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge  
          and related investigations as evidence of the need for greater  
          accountability.  The author believes that subjecting TBPOC to  
          open meeting law requirements will lead to greater transparency  
          which will, in turn, lead to greater accountability.    


          Although TBPOC is specifically exempted from open meeting  
          statutes, it voted in May of last year to adopt open meeting  
          policies. These policies reflect many, but not all, of the  
          requirements set forth in existing law to govern meetings of  
          state and local government bodies.  According to MTC, while it  
          has "taken important steps to open our process, we have done so  
          in a way that balances the need for openness with the need to  
          conduct business as efficiently as possible.  In short, we  
          believe we are now in full compliance with the spirit of  
          Bagley-Keene while maintaining some differences from the law's  
          literal provisions." 


          One notable difference between existing open meeting laws and  
          TBPOC's open meeting policy is the manner in which closed  
          sessions are addressed.  Existing law allows for public agencies  
          to meet in closed session but only under narrow, specified  
          circumstances and within prescribed notifications procedures.   
          TBPOC's open meeting policy, on the other hand, provides for  
          broad closed sessions, as determined necessary by the members of  
          the committee, and allows the committee to limit reporting on  
          closed sessions at subsequent regular meetings.


          The work of the TBPOC will be ending shortly.  All of the  
          state-owned toll bridges under its oversight have achieved  
          seismic safety and the one remaining project, the demolition of  
          the old east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, is  
          due to be completed next year.  








                                                                    AB 1284


                                                                    Page  4







          Committee concerns:  


          1)Membership of the TBPOC is made up of employees of two state  
            agencies (Caltrans and CTC) and one local agency (MTC).  By  
            deleting the current exemption from open meeting laws, the  
            bill creates ambiguity that should be resolved because it is  
            not clear whether TBPOC should be governed by statutes that  
            apply to state bodies or to local bodies.  The bill should be  
            amended to clarify which provisions the author believes should  
            govern the TBPOC.  


          2)Members of the TBPOC are the director of Caltrans and the  
            executive directors of CTC and of MTC.  Caltrans is not  
            defined as a state body under open meeting laws and the  
            executive directors of CTC and MTC are staff to, not members  
            of, the state and local bodies they represent, respectively.    
            Consequently, it is not clear that TBPOC would naturally be  
            considered a state or local body subject to open meeting laws.  
             


            Again, to eliminate this ambiguity the bill should be amended  
            to identify which definition of either a state or local body  
            the author believes applies to TBPOC for purposes of  
            subjecting it to open meeting law requirements.  Simply  
            deleting the exemption does not provide this clarity. 


          Double referral:  This bill will be referred to the Assembly  
          Local Government Committee


          should it pass out of this committee.










                                                                    AB 1284


                                                                    Page  5





          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          None on file




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Janet Dawson / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093