A&A: The Brown Act and non-government youth organizations

The Brown Act and non-government youth organizations

Q: I need to know if there are any acts, like the Brown or Public records acts, that govern youth sports leagues. My daughters play for a league that has closed meetings and meetings that nobody knows about.

A: As a general rule, the Brown and Public Records Acts only apply to government agencies.  Since the name of the organization is Santa Maria Girls Softball, Inc., it sounds like it is a private entity and not a governmental agency.

The only private entity subject to the Brown Act is a “board, commission, committee or other multimember body that governs a private corporation or entity that either” (A) was created by a governmental agency to exercise authority that may lawfully be deleted by the agency or (B) receives funds from a local agency (like a city of Santa Maria) and at least one member of the corporation’s governing body is a member of the governing elected body of the local agency (i.e., a city council member).  If either condition applies, the board of even a private corporation must hold noticed public meetings that comply with the Brown Act, per Government Code section 54952(c)(1).

The Public Records Act extends to “nonprofit organizations of local governmental agencies and officials that are supported solely by public funds.”  Gov’t Code sec. 6252.

We cannot tell whether SMGS, Inc., would meet the qualifications of a corporate body subject to the Brown Act or nonprofit organization subject to the PRA, but it seems doubtful.