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A&A: Is A Chamber of Commerce Subject to the Brown Act?

Q:  Is a Chamber of Commerce subject to the Brown Act? How can one find out if that act applies to this body or not?

A:  Determining whether a particular body is subject to the Brown Act is not always simple. The Brown Act defines the term “legislative body” to include “a board, commission, committee, or other multimember body that governs a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity” if that entity either:

(A) is created by the elected legislative body in order to exercise authority that may lawfully be delegated by the elected governing body to a private corporation, limited liability company, or other entity;

or

(B) Receives funds from a local agency and the membership of whose governing body includes a member of the legislative body of the local agency appointed to that governing body as a full voting member by the legislative body of the local agency.

Cal. Gov’t Code § 54952(c).

Scenario (B), in particular, might be one to look at here, as it would not be terribly unusual for a Chamber of Commerce to have on its board a member of a local agency that provides the chamber with funding.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP is general counsel for the First Amendment Coalition and responds to FAC hotline inquiries. In responding to these inquiries, we can give general information regarding open government and speech issues but cannot provide specific legal advice or representation. No attorney-client relationship has been formed by way of this response.

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