Access to agenda attachments
Q: Does a government body subject to the Brown Act also have to provide access to the attachments to agenda items 48 hours before the meeting? If so, do they have to also provide copies of the attachments upon request if the person pays the copying fee? I am referring to attachments that make up the agenda packet.
A: You may request that a copy of the agenda and “all documents constituting the agenda packet” be mailed to you pursuant to California Government Code section 54954.1. They will be mailed when the agenda is posted (72 hours before the meeting under Government section 54954.2(a)), or when it is distributed to a majority of the legislative body, whichever is first. The agency may charge a fee for mailing the materials, not to exceed the cost of providing the mailing service.Government Code Section 54954.1 provides as follows:Any person may request that a copy of the agenda, or a copy of all the documents constituting the agenda packet, of any meeting of a legislative body be mailed to that person.
If requested, the agenda and documents in the agenda packet shall be made available in appropriate alternative formats to persons with a disability, as required by Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 12132), and the federal rules and regulations adopted in implementation thereof. Upon receipt of the written request, the legislative body or its designee shall cause the requested materials to be mailed at the time the agenda is posted pursuant to Section 54954.2 and 54956 or upon distribution to all, or a majority of all, of the members of a legislative body, whichever occurs first. Any request for mailed copies of agendas or agenda packets shall be valid for the calendar year in which it is filed, and must be renewed following January 1 of each year. The legislative body may establish a fee for mailing the agenda or agenda packet, which fee shall not exceed the cost of providing the service.
Failure of the requesting person to receive the agenda or agenda packet pursuant to this section shall not constitute grounds for invalidation of the actions of the legislative body taken at the meeting for which the agenda or agenda packet was not received.With respect to records distributed at a public meeting, they are public records unless otherwise exempted under the Public Records Act. Cal. Gov’t Code § 54957.5. The public is entitled to obtain them at the meeting if they were prepared by the public agency, or after the meeting if prepared by someone else. (This does not mean that the agency does not have to provide them prior to the meeting if they are available, only that it must make them available by the time of the meeting at the latest.) Cal. Gov’t Code § 54957.5(d).