AB 2647: Sharing Documents with the Board of Directors
Currently, the Brown Act requires writings related to an agenda item that are distributed to a majority of the members of a legislative body less than 72 hours before the meeting be made available for public inspection at the time the writing was distributed. (Cal. Govt. Code § 54957.5.) A local agency must make the writing available for public inspection at a public office or location designated for such purpose, and the agenda must list the address of the office or location. (Id.) This requirement may be impractical given that most agencies post materials on their website, and may be particularly difficult to meet when an agency's office is closed prior to a meeting date.
AB 2647's modest revisions provide an alternative to making the writing available for public inspection at a public office or location designated for this purpose and listing the address of the office or location on the agenda. Under AB 2647, an agency may post materials on the agency's website, but the agency must meet all of the following requirements:
- An initial staff report or similar document containing an executive summary and the staff recommendation, if any, relating to that agenda item is made available for public inspection at the designated office or location at least 72 hours before the meeting;
- The agency immediately posts the writing on its website in a position and manner that makes it clear that the writing relates to an agenda item for an upcoming meeting;
- The agency lists the web address of the agency’s internet website on the agendas for all meetings of the legislative body of that agency; and
- The agency makes physical copies available for public inspection, beginning the next regular business hours for the local agency, at the designated office or location. This requirement is satisfied only if the next regular business hours of the local agency commence at least 24 hours before that meeting.
AB 2647 does not change the Brown Act's requirement that writings distributed during a public meeting must be available for public inspection at the public meeting if prepared by the agency or a member of its legislative body, or after the meeting if prepared by some other person. The writings must be made available in appropriate alternative formats upon request by a person with a disability.
From a practical perspective, this new law does not require a public agency to do anything different. If it doesn’t already do so, a public agency may want to include on all meeting agendas a link to the agency's website so that the agency retains flexibility in determining how to comply with the Brown Act's writing posting requirement. Agencies may continue their usual practices of making such writings available for public inspection, or, alternatively, now post the writings on the agency's Internet website, so long as the other AB 2647 requirements are met.
Link to article