BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó






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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       AB 1787|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |
          |(916) 651-1520    Fax: (916)      |                              |
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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  AB 1787
          Author:   Gomez (D) 
          Amended:  8/2/16 in Senate
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY COMMITTEE:  4-0, 6/8/16
           AYES:  Wieckowski, Hill, Leno, Pavley
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Gaines, Bates, Jackson

           SENATE GOVERNANCE & FIN. COMMITTEE:  6-0, 6/29/16
           AYES:  Hertzberg, Nguyen, Beall, Hernandez, Lara, Pavley
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Moorlach

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:  Senate Rule 28.8

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  73-0, 4/11/16 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT:   Open meetings:  public comments:  translation


          SOURCE:    Author


          DIGEST:  This bill requires local agency legislative bodies to  
          allow at least twice as much time to members of the public  
          commenting through a translator.


          ANALYSIS:  


          Existing law:









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          1)Establishes, pursuant to the Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act),  
            procedures to ensure public access to information maintained  
            by local agencies and that the decisions made by public  
            agencies are done in an open and transparent fashion to retain  
            public control over those agencies.  


          2)Requires the legislative body of a local agency to provide the  
            public with the opportunity to comment on each agenda item,  
            subject to reasonable regulations (such as time limits on  
            individual testimony) that further the intent of the Brown Act  
            to allow public input.


          3)Requires state bodies-boards and commissions with multiple  
            members-to hold open meetings.


          4)Requires a state body to provide at least twice as much time  
            to any individual using a translator when the body limits  
            testimony, unless the body uses simultaneous translation  
            technology that allows the body to hear the translation  
            simultaneously.


          This bill:


          1)Requires the legislative body of a local agency that imposes  
            time limits on public comment to provide at least twice the  
            allotted time to a member of the public that speaks through a  
            translator.  


          2)Exempts a local agency from this requirement if it provides  
            simultaneous translation equipment that allows the legislative  
            body to hear the translation simultaneously.


          Background


          The Brown Act, first enacted by the Legislature in 1953, is the  







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          set of state laws which guarantees the public's right to attend  
          and participate in local legislative bodies' meetings.  Local  
          agencies subject to the Brown Act include cities, charter  
          cities, counties, school districts, special districts, and other  
          political subdivisions of the state.  


          The Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Bagley-Keene Act) requires  
          state bodies-boards and commissions with multiple members-to  
          hold open meetings.  Like local agencies, state bodies must  
          provide the public with the opportunity to comment on each  
          agenda item and may similarly adopt reasonable rules to ensure  
          equal access.  In 2012, the Legislature amended the Bagley-Keene  
          Act to require a state body to provide at least twice as much  
          time to any individual using a translator when the body limits  
          testimony, unless the body uses simultaneous translation  
          technology that allows the body to hear the translation  
          simultaneously (SB 965, Wright, Chapter 551, Statutes of 2012).   
          Some legislators want to extend these requirements to local  
          agencies.





          Comments


          Purpose of the bill.  The right to comment on government  
          decisions is fundamental to ensuring that the perspectives of  
          everyday Californians are heard and considered by their  
          representatives.  California draws residents from all over the  
          world, including individuals that speak a primary language other  
          than English.  Yet some local agencies, in a desire to expedite  
          their decisions, limit the testimony of these residents by  
          imposing time limits that do not consider the need for a  
          translator to make their voices heard.  These limitations  
          violate the spirit of the Brown Act, if not the letter of the  
          law.  AB 1787 ensures that local agencies provide all  
          Californians with equal opportunity to comment by doubling the  
          time allotted for those that need translators.  State boards and  
          commissions already have to meet this requirement, and most  
          local agencies conduct meetings this way as well.  AB 1787  
          simply ensures that the requirements for those remaining  







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          agencies are clear.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes


          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/9/16)


           Asamblea de Gonzales
           California Communities Against Toxics
           California Environmental Justice Alliance
           California Environmental Justice Coalition
           California Safe Schools
           California Special Districts Association
           California State Association of Counties
           Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment
           Comite Civico Del Valle
           Community Food & Justice Coalition
           Del Amo Action Committee
           Desert Protection Society
           El Pueblo Para el Aire y Agua Limpia/People for Clean Air and  
            Water of Kettleman City
           Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
           Food Empowerment Project
           Grayson Neighborhood Council
           Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
           Healthy 880 Communities
           Huntersview Mothers and Fathers Committee for Health and  
            Environmental Justice
           Idle No More SF Bay
           IVAN Network
           Label GMOs California's Grassroots
           La Cuna de Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle
           League of California Cities
           Los Angeles Environmental Justice Network
           Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive  
            Environment)
           Valley Improvement Projects
           West Berkeley Alliance for Clean Air and Safe Jobs
           West County Toxics Coalition
           West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project








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          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/9/16)


          None received




          ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  73-0, 4/11/16
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Travis Allen, Atkins, Baker, Bigelow,  
            Bloom, Bonilla, Bonta, Brough, Brown, Burke, Calderon, Campos,  
            Chang, Chau, Chávez, Chiu, Chu, Cooley, Cooper, Dababneh,  
            Dahle, Daly, Dodd, Eggman, Frazier, Gallagher, Cristina  
            Garcia, Eduardo Garcia, Gatto, Gipson, Gomez, Gordon, Gray,  
            Grove, Harper, Roger Hernández, Holden, Irwin, Jones,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Kim, Lackey, Levine, Linder, Lopez, Low,  
            Maienschein, Mathis, Mayes, McCarty, Medina, Mullin, Nazarian,  
            O'Donnell, Olsen, Patterson, Quirk, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez,  
            Salas, Santiago, Steinorth, Mark Stone, Thurmond, Ting,  
            Wagner, Waldron, Weber, Wilk, Williams, Wood
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Beth Gaines, Gonzalez, Hadley, Melendez,  
            Obernolte, Rendon

          Prepared by:Anton Favorini-Csorba / GOV. & F. / (916) 651-4119
          8/10/16 15:53:14


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