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  Agenda Item   24.    
City Council Meeting
Meeting Date: 11/15/2022  

Subject:
AB 361 Findings for Special Brown Act Requirements for Teleconference Meetings
RECOMMENDATION
Make the following findings: (1) the City Council has reconsidered the circumstances of the COVID-19 state of emergency; and (2) the COVID-19 state of emergency continues to directly impact the ability of the members of the City’s legislative bodies (including commissions and committees) to meet safely in person. 
BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION
On March 4, 2020, Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency to exist in California due to the spread of COVID-19. This proclamation is still in effect. The Governor subsequently issued numerous executive orders suspending or modifying state laws to facilitate the response to the emergency. Among other things, these executive orders superseded certain Brown Act requirements and established special rules to give local public agencies greater flexibility to conduct teleconference meetings. The special rules included provisions allowing local public agencies to conduct teleconference meetings without having to provide a physical location from which the public may attend or comment; without having to use teleconference locations that are publicly accessible; and without having to identify teleconference locations on the agenda. Those special rules expired on September 30, 2021.

On September 16, 2021, in anticipation of the then-imminent expiration of his special rules for teleconference meetings, Governor Newsom signed AB 361. In key part, this bill amended the Brown Act to establish special requirements for teleconference meetings if a legislative body of a local public agency makes two findings pursuant to Government Code Section 54953(e)(3). Like the special rules in the Governor’s executive orders, the special Brown Act requirements in AB 361 include provisions allowing public agencies to conduct teleconference meetings without having to provide a physical location from which the public may attend or comment; without having to use teleconference locations that are publicly accessible; and without having to identify teleconference locations on the agenda. The AB 361 special Brown Act requirements are scheduled to be repealed on January 1, 2024.

In order for a local public agency to be subject to the AB 361 special Brown Act requirements for teleconference meetings, a legislative body of a local public agency first must make a finding that it has “reconsidered” the circumstances of a declared state of emergency. Second, there must be a finding that such emergency continues to directly impact the ability of legislative body.
 
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED:
William Gallardo, City Manager
Prepared by: Lillian Harris-Neal, City Clerk
 

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