Brown Act: Allowances during public emergencies - AB 361
AB 361 allows for exemptions from in-person requirements through January 1, 2024 under the following conditions, and with the following requirements:
- The legislative body holds a meeting during a proclaimed state of emergency, and state or local officials have imposed or recommended measures to promote social distancing.
- The legislative body holds a meeting during a proclaimed state of emergency for the purpose of determining, by majority vote, whether as a result of the emergency, meeting in person would present imminent risks to the health or safety of attendees.
- The legislative body holds a meeting during a proclaimed state of emergency and has determined, by majority vote that, as a result of the emergency, meeting in person would present imminent risks to the health or safety of attendees. [To continue the allowances, this vote must be agendized once every thirty days to make findings regarding the circumstances of the emergency and vote to continue using the law’s exemptions for as long as it deems necessary. ]
- Allow the public to access the meeting and require that the agenda provide an opportunity for the public to directly address the legislative body pursuant to the Brown Act’s other teleconferencing provisions;
- In each instance when the local agency provides notice of the teleconferenced meeting or posts its agenda, give notice for how the public can access the meeting and provide public comment;
- Identify and include in the agenda an opportunity for all persons to attend via a call-in or an internet-based service option;
- The legislative body need not provide a physical location for the public to attend or provide comments;
- Conduct teleconference meetings in a manner that protects the statutory and constitutional rights of the public;
- Stop the meeting until public access is restored in the event of a service disruption that either prevents the local agency from broadcasting the meeting to the public using the call-in or internet-based service option, or is within the local agency’s control and prevents the public from submitting public comments (any actions taken during such a service disruption can be challenged under the Brown Act’s existing challenge provisions);
- Not require comments be submitted in advance (though the legislative body may provide that as an option), and provide the opportunity to comment in real time;
- Provide adequate time for public comment, either by establishing a timed public comment period or by allowing a reasonable amount of time to comment;
- If the legislative body uses a third-party website or platform to host the teleconference, and the third-party service requires users to register to participate, the legislative body must provide adequate time during the comment period for users to register, and may not close the registration comment period until the comment period has elapsed.
- The legislative body has reconsidered the circumstances of the emergency; and
- Either of the following circumstances exist: The state of emergency continues to directly impact the ability of members to meet safely in person, or State or local officials continue to impose or recommend social distancing measures.