California Senate rejects exception to open-meeting law


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Stung when their closed-door meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011 was declared illegal, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors pushed for state legislation to remedy the situation.

However, state lawmakers on Monday rejected a bill that would have stipulated that closed-door meetings between the governor and a legislative body may fall under the ‘public security’ exemption to the state’s open-meeting law.


The opposition in the state Senate was bipartisan. ‘I see no reason why we need to create another loophole to circumvent California open-meeting laws,’’ said Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff of Diamond Bar. Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) ‘isn’t interested in rolling back transparency of public agencies,’ said spokesman Adam Keigwin.

AB 1736 failed on a 16-19 vote but may come up for reconsideration in the Senate as early as Tuesday. It would add the governor to a long list of public officials who may meet in closed session with boards of supervisors to discuss a threat to the security of essential public services. The list already includes the state attorney general, sheriff, chief of police and security consultants.

The bill was proposed by Los Angeles County after a deputy district attorney concluded that the September 2011 meeting between the board and Brown should have been open because the information discussed was not sensitive enough to constitute a public threat. The meeting was held to discuss a program shifting the care of some prisoners from the state to the county.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento