BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 1284


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          Date of Hearing:  April 29, 2015 


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT


                              Brian Maienschein, Chair


          AB 1284  
          (Baker) - As Amended April 8, 2015


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


          SUMMARY:  Requires the Toll Bridge Project Oversight Committee  
          to be subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.   
          Specifically, this bill:   


          1)Requires the Toll Bridge Project Oversight Committee (TBPOC),  
            formed by the California Department of Transportation  
            (Caltrans) and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA), to be  
            subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.  


          2)Repeals a provision in current law that exempts the TBPOC from  
            the Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act).


          EXISTING LAW:  


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








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          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.  


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


          4)Requires, pursuant to the Brown Act and the Bagley-Keene Open  
            Meeting Act, that all meetings of a local agency and state  
            body be open and public and all persons be permitted to  
            attend, unless a closed session is authorized.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:  This bill is keyed fiscal.  


          COMMENTS:   


          1)Background.  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  
            TBPOC from state agency open meeting act requirements  
            (Bagley-Keene Act).  SB 66 (Torlakson), Chapter 375, Statutes  
            of 2005, a follow-up measure to AB 144, exempted the TBPOC  
            from local agency open meeting act requirements (Brown Act).   
            An analysis for SB 66 stated that the TBPOC by its nature is  
            an oversight entity only, providing review and monitoring  
            services, evaluating project change orders and developing cost  
            estimates and risk assessments.  The directors of Caltrans,  
            CTC and the Bay Area Toll Authority are subject to open  








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            meeting requirements.  


            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.  In a letter from the TBPOC addressed to the author of  
            this bill, TBPOC states that they have opened hearings to  
            public participation effective May 6, 2014.  Additionally,  
            TBPOC states, "While we have 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 with prescribed notification  
            procedures.  The courts have narrowly construed closed meeting  
            exceptions contained in both Bagley-Keene and Brown Act.  Both  
            Acts contain procedural requirements, including agenda and  
            notice requirements before a closed session may be held  
            legally.  The Bagley-Keene Act and the Brown Act contain  
            additional requirements on reporting after a closed session is  
            held depending on the purpose of the closed session.  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  








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            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.  


          2)Bill Summary.  This bill requires the TBPOC to be subject to  
            the Bagley-Keene Open Meetings Act.  This bill is  
            author-sponsored.  


          3)Author's Statement.  According to the author, "The TBPOC  
            adopted an 'open meetings policy' but the policy adopted  
            allows the committee to meet in closed session on 'any matter'  
            for any reason deemed by themselves to be in the public  
            interest.  TBPOC can similarly expunge the record so that  
            there is no report that a meeting took place or action was  
            taken.  This bill ensures much-need transparency."  


          4)Policy Consideration.  The members of the TBPOC include the  
            director of Caltrans and the executive directors of CTC and  
            BATA (MTC).  Caltrans is not defined as a state body under  
            open meeting laws and the executive directors of CTC and BATA  
            (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.  The Committee may wish to  
            consider if it is more appropriate to have TBPOC, as it is  
            contained in the provisions of law which govern BATA (MTC), to  
            be subject to the Brown Act.  


          5)Arguments in Support.  None on file.  


          6)Arguments in Opposition.  None on file.  


          7)Double-Referral.  This bill was heard by the Transportation  








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            Committee on April 6, 2015, where it passed with a 15-0 vote.   



          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          None on file




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Misa Lennox / L. GOV. / (916) 319-3958