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Brown Act enforcement bill clears the Assembly and Senate, heads to Governor - California Newspaper Publishers Association : Legislative And Legal

Brown Act enforcement bill clears the Assembly and Senate, heads to Governor

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Posted: Friday, August 24, 2012 2:56 pm

Legislation introduced to overturn the appellate court's decision in McKee v Tulare County Bd. of Supervisors that ruled existing law does not provide a remedy for past violations by a local agency sailed through the Legislature this week and is headed for the Governor's desk.

SB 1003, by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), was passed by the Assembly on a 62-12 vote and the Senate approved the measure on a 24-14 vote.

CNPA and Californians Aware are co-sponsors of the bill.

The bill was amended to establish a framework for resolving disputes over violations of the law outside of the judicial process. The amendments were the product of negotiations among all of the stakeholders and resulted in the bill's adversaries removing their opposition.

Within nine months of an alleged violation, SB 1003 would allow a district attorney or interested person to submit a letter to an agency setting forth the circumstances of the violation. The agency would have thirty days to issue a commitment letter stating that it would cease its conduct that gave rise to the allegation. If the agency continues the conduct after the issuance of the letter, or if the agency refuses to issue a commitment letter, the interested person would have 60 days to file an action in court for declaratory relief or a writ to enforce the law for the past violation.

The co-sponsors plan to meet with the Governor's office after the legislative session ends August 31. Governor Brown has not yet taken a position on the bill.