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California open government roundup: Proposed law would burden public record requesters

An amendment to Section 6258 of the Government Code would require those making public records requests to “meet and confer in good faith with the agency in an attempt to informally resolve each issue. The person or their attorney shall file a declaration stating that this meet and confer process has occurred at the time that proceedings are instituted.” That provision would prove onerous to most requesters who do not live close to the agencies and add to delays in providing records as meetings are set up at the convenience of the agencies. (techdirt, March 6, 2019, by Tim Cushing)

California appeals court ruled that a superior court judge erred in blocking an attorney/litigant from posting comments about his divorce case on Facebook. The court found the order was overbroad, constituted prior restraint and violated the attorney’s free speech rights. (Metropolitan News-Enterprise, February 28, 2019, by a MetNews Staff Writer)

The West Hollywood City Council is dealing with issues surrounding their recently resigned mayor accused of sexual misconduct. The ex-mayor John Duran in turn accused three council members of violating the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law, by conferring privately to call for his resignation. (The Pride, March 6, 2019, by Amy Patton)

Recently passed SB 126 places California charter schools on the same footing as other public schools requiring compliance to the same open meeting, conflict of interest and financial disclosure laws. (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, March 5, 2019, by Beau Yarbrough)

Operators of charter schools claim they have always operated transparently and fear that SB 126 would add requirements that could inhibit the schools from helping underserved students with innovative teaching strategies. (San Benito Free Lance, March 6, 2019, by Scott Forstner)

The Santa Cruz district attorney’s office found no Brown Act violations by local school board trustees accused of discussing official business outside of open meetings. The office concluded that the meeting was for social purposes for the newly elected members. (Register- Pajaronian, February 26, 2019, by Todd Guild)

A state court of appeals ruled that a citizen had the right to address the full Los  Angeles City Council in special session after addressing a committee. The Brown Act prohibits second comments, but the judge said there was no ban on second comments at special sessions. (Metropolitan News-Enterprise, February 26, 2019, by a MetNews Staff Writer)

The Cabrillo Unified School District board of governors accepted the superintendent’s resignation in closed session but failed to report it promptly to the public as required by the Brown Act. (Half Moon Bay Review, February 20, 2019, by Clay Lambert)

The Union of Grass Valley is concerned that Governor Gavin Newsom’s appearance at a League of Cities meeting in Grass Valley was not open to the public. The governor’s press office released a comment drenched with irony, “It’s a meeting, not a press event.”  (by the Union Editorial Board, February 21, 2019)

Citing an alleged Brown Act violation, the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau filed a lawsuit against the Sonora High School District to strike the sale of 112 acres to the nonprofit, The Park Foundation. (The Union Democrat, March 7, 2019, by Giuseppe Ricapito)

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