Bill to Encourage More Participation in Public Service is Signed into law
SACRAMENTO – Earlier in the year, Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), met with a University of California professor who expressed frustration over California’s open meeting requirements, known as Bagley-Keene, and explained how these antiquated rules were actually hindering the ability of advisory committees to do their work.
Advisory committees have no legislative authority. They are comprised of volunteers whose specialized expertise would make it very expensive for the State to hire. These committees are required to comply with Bagley-Keene open meeting requirements which are meant to ensure that the public is provided an opportunity to provide input in policy decisions by state agencies, departments and local governments.
“While these requirements make sense for decision making bodies, it creates a significant hurdle to advisory committee members who have willingly volunteered to share their knowledge with the state. They receive no compensation for their time, travel or lodging,” explained Assemblymember Quirk.
AB 2598 will allow advisory committees to meet via teleconference provided they meet certain requirements. These include adopting guidelines, posting one physical location where a quorum would be present and information on how the public can participate.
“The signing AB 2958 modernizes the teleconferencing statute of Bagley-Keene to encourage more participation and engagement in public service. I worked diligently with various stakeholders to ensure an appropriate balance between public access and technology. The individuals who serve on the advisory committees play a very critical role in providing us with research and data. I’m glad we will be able to make their service simpler with this bill,” said Assemblymember Quirk upon learning his bill was signed into law.
AB 2958 goes into effect on January 1, 2019.