|(April 17, 2021, 10:45 p.m.) -- A Sacramento bill supported by a lengthy list of open government and mainly progressive policy groups proposes to require City Halls statewide to make permanent and enhance digital-era public speaking opportunities at local government meetings, including City Council meetings.
AB 339, introduced on January 28, 2021 by Assemblymembers Alex Lee (D, Milpitas) and Cristina Garcia (D, Downey/Bell Gardens), now joined by co-authored by Assemblymembers Arambula, Cooley and Robert Rivas) would also require local government bodies to allow telephonic public speakers beyond an arbitrary cut off number.
The latter issue has become timely locally after Mayor Robert Garcia's allies (including his brother and some of the Mayor's appointees (April 6) and a developer's advocate (April 13) filled all then-available speaker slots, effectively preventing speakers with contrary views from being heard. LB Councilmembers remained mum as the City Clerk defended the limit..
AB 339 provides in pertinent part: "Registration for public comment period is permitted, so long as instructions to register are posted, members of the public are able to register over the telephone and in person, and registration remains open until the comment period has finished for that agenda item. Information collected for registration purposes shall be limited to name, telephone number, and county of residence."
Other salient portions include:
[Scroll down for further.] .
54953.(b) All meetings shall include an opportunity for members of the public to attend via a telephonic option and an internet-based service option. For the purposes of this chapter, "internet-based service option" means a service or platform that allows two-way video and audio participation through the internet.
AB 339's authors initially proposed to end a double-standard and apply its provisions to state bodies as well as local government entities, but that provision apparently encountered Sac'to pushback and was removed.
AB 339 is supported by the First Amendment Coalition and, with a lengthy list of groups, submitted a joint letter in support of AB 339 at this link.
However a week earlier, the League of California Cities (a privately run advocacy group to which the City of LB pays dues), joined by the California Special Districts Association (CSDA), California State Association of Counties (CSAC), Urban Counties of California (UCC), Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD), Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), Community College League of California (CCLC), California Downtown Association (CDA), and Public Risk Innovation, Solutions, and Management (PRISM), signed an opposition letter which can be viewed ,a href= "https://ct3.blob.core.windows.net/21blobs/7f563b85-a91c-4a84-a348-01a0326f87ff" target="_blank">here.. The opposition letter states in part that AB 339 "will purposefully add significant unfunded mandates on local public agencies by requiring public agencies to provide both call-in and internet-based options, in addition to in-person options, for members of the public to attend and comment during any public meeting."
The bill's first hearing (no date set yet) will be before the Assembly's Committee on Local Government. Its 8 current members include six Democrats and two Republicans: Assemblywoman Cecelia Aguiar-Curry (Chair, D), Vice chair Tom Lackey (R), Assemblymembers Richard Bloom (D), Tasha Boerner Horvath (D), James C. Ramos (D), Luz Rivas (D), Robert Rivas (D) and Randy Voepel (R).
April 18, 2021, 10:20 p.m.: Opposition letter b League of CA Cities added.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Recommend LBREPORT.com to your Facebook friends:
Follow LBReport.com with:
Contact us: mail@LBReport.com