Gov. Newsom Grants Cal Cities’ Request for Continued Brown Act Flexibility

June 2, 2021

In an effort to provide local governments adequate time to prepare for in-person public meetings while remaining in compliance with the Brown Act, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Executive Order N-29-20 will remain in effect after the June 15 reopening plan.

The announcement came in response to a request by a local government coalition, which included the League of California Cities.

In a May 18, 2021 letter to the Governor, the coalition requested guidance on how local government agencies should proceed with Executive Order N-29-20 following the Blueprint’s conclusion. The Executive Order provides local government agencies with the necessary flexibility to conduct business meetings in a virtual format.

Today, in response to the local government coalition request, the Governor announced that the Executive Order will not terminate on June 15, and all local government agencies can continue to conduct virtual public meetings as needed. The additional time will allow local governments to modify or keep any pandemic-era changes and provide sufficient notice to the public, honoring city obligations to prioritize access and transparency, along with the safety of the public.

The Administration also noted that they would work with Cal Cities and the other local government stakeholders to provide appropriate notice about the Executive Order’s eventual discontinuation, which would allow cities to adequately prepare and meet the Brown Act requirements. This guidance is welcome news, as it will allow cities to continue their existing business meeting practices until there is additional guidance on the unwinding process of the Executive Order.

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