A bill to redefine California’s open meeting act, the The Brown Act, has been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Senate Bill 1100, authored by Sen. Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley) and Assemblyman Evan Low’s (D-Silicon Valley), authorizes the presiding member of a legislative body conducting a meeting to remove an individual for disrupting the meeting.
What is concerning about this vague bill is SB 1100 defines “disrupting” as engaging in behavior that actually disrupts, disturbs, impedes, or renders infeasible the orderly conduct of the meeting and includes, but is not limited to:
a) A failure to comply with reasonable and lawful regulations adopted by a legislative body pursuant to existing law.
b) Engaging in behavior that includes the use of force or true threats of force.
This sounds flagrantly open to loose definitions of “disruptive” by lawmakers who just want the peasants to sit down and shut up.
The Globe reported in early August:
While there were and still are many angry constituents and parents attending public meetings and hearings during the state’s Covid lockdowns of school, businesses, and churches, the bill’s authors never acknowledge the pain and suffering the people of California went through under the guise of “public health,” which likely led to hot tempers and fur flying at some meetings. The Governor, Legislature, city councils and county boards are at the heart of what caused these disruptions by supporting the lockdowns of millions of healthy people.
And the lawmakers supporting SB 1100 are pretending that they are just reacting to irrational angry masses.
Additionally, what stunned many local boards and councils is that members of the public showed up demanding accountability and justification for the business, churches and school lockdowns and shutdowns. And yes, many of these business owners and parents were livid at the government which destroyed their businesses, kept their children out of school for nearly two years, and prevented them from worshiping. They have a right to be angry and demand accountability, as the League of California Cities explains.
The Globe noted that rules already exist to allow elected boards to halt a disrupted meeting and even have the disrupters removed.
State and local officials never want to have to encounter their constituents like that again.
Rather than reconsider their overreach and authoritarianism, California’s Democrat lawmakers chose to double down with restrictions to free speech and assembly. Expect to see a 1st Amendment challenge to this bill.