California open government roundup: Supreme Court wants answers on public records request

A Sacramento news station suing the utilities commission for access to messages between Governor Gavin Newsom staff members and the commission president gained traction as the California Supreme Court requested an update on the status of the public record requests. The messages concerned a plan to bail out PG&E for financial consequences of crimes they committed. (ABC10, Setember 16, 2021, by Brandon Rittiman)

Local governments may continue to hold remote meetings during emergencies. Newsom signed AB 361 to allow virtual meetings during wildfires and pandemics and as long as emergencies last. (Pasadena Now, September 20, 2021, by Staff)

A federal judge stopped proceedings to close a nonprofit food service in Orange. The ACLU claimed the city council made the decision to close Mary’s Kitchen in a secretive way in violation of the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law and the California Public Records Act. (Daily Pilot, September 16, 2021, by Ben Brazil)

The Solano County Fair Board voted to reconsider whether gun shows will be allowed on the fairgrounds in the future in response to protests that an earlier decision to cancel the shows in 2022 was made without proper notification under the Brown Act. (Daily Republic, September 15, 2021, by Todd Hansen)

The ACLU warned the Vallejo City Council that their new policy that allows council members to mute speakers making personal attacks was unconstitutional. (San Francisco Chronicle, September 10, 2021, by Andres Picon)

A group of citizens protested outside the home of a Lucia Mar Unified School District board member to protest a virtual meeting of the board. One protester alleged that the Zoom meeting was illegal given the Brown Act. (The San Luis Obispo Tribune), September 9, 2021 by Mackenzie Shuman)

The William S. Hart Union High School District board passed a rule allowing them to stop meetings and continue them later if in-person meetings got too disruptive. The district superintendent said they wanted to hold transparent meetings but had to insure people’s safety during the meetings. Citizens had been unruly during discussions of masking policies. (The Santa Clarita Valley Signal, September 1, 2021, by Caleb Lunetta)

Laguna Beach resident Anne Caenn contends that the City Council allowed work to resume on a hotel renovation in an illegal closed meeting. Under the Brown Act a closed session is only allowed if litigation is in play, she said. (Laguna Beach Independent, September 2, 2021, by Anne Caenn)

A state appeals court ruled that Placer County violated the Brown Act by not providing last minute documents on an agenda item to the public. The documents were delivered immediately to county supervisors but not the public. (Metropolitan News-Enterprise, August 26, 2021, by a MetNews Staff Writer)

A group of citizens is alleging in a lawsuit that Palomar Health District violated the Brown Act in awarding contracts to a new emergency care provider. The lawsuit claims the district failed to provide proper notice to the public for a closed session in June to vote on the contracts. (The Coast News, August 14, 2021, by Coast News wire services)

Laguna Beach council members censured a colleague for sharing information from a closed session on the renovation of Hotel Laguna. (The Orange County Register, August 13, 2021, by Erika I. Ritchie)

The Fillmore City Council adopted a policy limiting social media use by council members and commissioners. They are now prohibited from discussing city projects, agenda items and expenditures on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. (Ventura County Star, August 12, 2021, by Wes Woods II)

A judge ruled that a woman was appointed to the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors unlawfully in that the decision was made through e-mails and not in open session in violation of the Brown Act. (Metropolitan News-Enterprise, August 10, 2021, by a MetNews Staff Writer)