Earlier this week the Assembly Local Government Committee unanimously approved SB 1003 by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) to restore the public's ability to enforce the Brown Act. The vote was 9-0.

As a result of successful negotiations with public agency opponents to the bill, all opposition has been removed clearing the way for the bill's passage. SB 1003 has been amended to establish a framework for resolving disputes over violations of the law outside of the judicial process.

If an interested person submits a letter to an agency setting forth an alleged violation, the agency would have the ability 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, the interested person would be able to file an action for declaratory relief or a writ to enforce the law for the past violation. If the agency does not respond to the demand to cease and desist or if it disagrees with the allegation, the person would have the ability to go directly to court seeking relief for the violation.

SB 1003 is co-sponsored by CNPA and Californians Aware.

SB 1003 will next be heard on the Assembly floor perhaps as early as next week. Governor Brown has not yet indicated a position on the bill.