[Editor’s Note: With Executive Orders coming fast and furious to address the COVID-19 pandemic, a new order will sometimes supersede an earlier order. That is the case with Order N-25-20. For the latest information on public meetings (see “Governor Provides Additional Brown Act Flexibility for Board Meeting—Updated,” in the current issue of the Fiscal Report).]
In support of public health guidance promoting social distancing to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on March 12, 2020, that eased certain Bagley-Keene Act and Brown Act requirements for local and state legislative bodies.
Executive Order N-25-20 authorizes local legislative bodies, such as school district governing boards, to hold public meetings via teleconference and to make public meetings accessible via phone or otherwise electronically to members of the public seeking to attend or address the body. The executive order waives requirements for members, the clerk, or other personnel to be physically present at a meeting in order to participate or to establish quorum. Standard requirements such as publicly noticing each teleconference location from which a member will be participating in the public meeting and posting agendas at all teleconference locations are suspended. However, local bodies must continue to give advance notice of each public meeting in accordance with timeframes and the means prescribed by the Bagley-Keene Act or the Brown Act. Additionally, the local body must notice at least one publicly accessible location from which members of the public shall have the right to observe and offer public comment at the public meeting.
More details about the public meeting requirements are in the full text of the executive order. These terms are in effect during the period in which public officials impose measures to promote social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.