A&A: Is a task force a “state body” under the Bagley-Keene Act?

Is a task force a “state body” under the Bagley-Keene Act?

Q: Caltrans is holding Highway Task Force meetings and it has been announced that these meetings will not be open to the public.

I received the following reply from the Caltrans public affairs:

Since this is not a public meeting, the task force meeting will be made up of 10 members from each community that the project affects.  The meeting is informal and does not fall under the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.

Is this closed meeting indeed legal?

A: Under the Bagley-Keene Act, the meetings of “state bodies” are presumptively public.  The term “state body” is defined by Government Code section 11121.1 to include both “a board, commission, committee, or similar multimember body that exercises any authority of a state body delegated to it by that state,” and “an advisory board, advisory commission, advisory committee, advisory subcommittee, or similar multimember advisory body or a state body, if created by formal action of the state body or of any member of the state body, and if the advisory body so created consists of three or more persons.”

Thus, the task force may be a state body under Government Code §11121(b) if it exercises any authority delegated to it by Caltrans.  The task force will also likely be considered a state body if it was created by formal action of Caltrans.  Both of these inquiries are necessary fact-specific; however, I hope this response provides you with some useful general information.

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