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New Newsom Executive Order Continues Remote Local Governmental Meetings Until 2024

All of this bureaucratese boils down to when the COVID-19 state of emergency ends

By Evan Symon, September 21, 2021 2:21 am

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order Monday waiving the application of Assembly Bill 361 until October 1, 2021, when the provisions of a prior executive order that established certain requirements for public agencies to meet remotely during the COVID-19 emergency will expire.

AB 361, authored by Assemblyman Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), was signed into law last week by Governor Newsom. Essentially, AB 361 extends public meeting teleconferencing until January 1, 2024. Since last year, due to a previous Executive Order, local governments have been allowed to hold teleconferenced meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic and could skirt around several Brown Act provisions, which allows meetings be more open to the public and allows members of the public to comment.

Among the parts of the Brown Act the Executive Order went around included giving public notice of the teleconference location, having teleconference rooms be open to the public, members of the public being allowed to address the lawmakers at each location, and post agendas of the meetings.

Held in place for over a year, lowered numbers of COVID-19 cases in the early half of the summer convinced Newsom to sign a new Executive Order ending all Brown Act  limitations to end on September 30th. However, with the Delta variant leading to a rise of cases in California, and Newsom unable to rescind the Executive Order stopping the end of the Brown Act restrictions, AB 361 was brought up to allow local governments to continue to teleconference without bringing back the restricted Brown Act restrictions in most situations. Specifically,  meetings that are held while California is still under a state of emergency and also have local social distancing, health risks, or safety risks, will still not to have to comply.

While some parts of the Brown Act will be brought back under the circumstances, such as posting the agenda and allowing members of the public to participate in the meeting, they will still be restricted by teleconferencing means via phone or internet services.

The big part of the bill was that if the state of emergency proceeds for more than 30 days, each local government must reconsider the exemption, especially if other circumstances change locally, such as a significantly reduced COVID-19 case drop.

Newsom’s Executive Order essentially means that if any local government wants to decide if remote meetings are still needed, they have to follow the requirements of AB 361, not through other means, making every local government be beholden to whether or not the state of emergency in California ends or not.

The future of remote local government meetings until 2024

“The order signed today specifies that for any meetings held to determine if remote meetings are justified beyond September 30, local legislative bodies must follow the statutory requirements established by AB 361,”  the Governor’s office said on Monday in a statement. “Today’s action provides clarity for local legislative and state bodies about the applicable requirements for holding remote meetings.”

However, many observers noted that local governments are now beholden to the state on when to reopen public meetings, rather than to local conditions.

“COVID-19 rates vary wildly across the state,” explained Sarah Keene-Smith, a city government meeting organizer in Southern California to the Globe on Monday. “And you also have many members of the public who can’t attend online or don’t like it. Less wealthy citizens may not have stable internet needed to speak at these meetings, an more wealthy people tend to go in person to push for certain things and want a physical presence. We were right on the verge of restoring the Brown Act, but AB 361 and this Executive Order by Newsom pretty much ended that until 2024.”

“Everything depends on when the COVID-19 state of emergency ends. All of this bureaucratese boils down to that. Free and open public meetings won’t truly be back now until that is gone.”

The Globe also contacted numerous lawmakers about the bill and Executive Order, but have not heard back from them as of Monday afternoon.

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14 thoughts on “New Newsom Executive Order Continues Remote Local Governmental Meetings Until 2024

    1. These “people” with their radical ideas and immoral character, are becoming more and more scared to to be among the regular people because the regular people have reached the point where they have had enough of this tyranny from these power hungry idiots. They are afraid that the wrath of “We the People” will turn from verbal to physical. They are afraid to walk the streets!

  1. So they just legislated that the “pandemic” is going to last until 2024. well plenty of time to keep those mail in elections cooking!

  2. It has nothing to do with COVID. It has everything to do with limiting people from complaining about legislative actions. And that, my friends, is how dictatorships work.

  3. I want to know how long he can defy the California constitution. The emergency powers he abuses have nothing to do with an endemic event and are only to last 60 days. It was never intended to be used in this manner.

    I agree this is an abuse of power. When will our courts step in? Ha, I guess I know that answer.
    This was NEVER about controlling a virus, it was about controlling YOU!

    1. Totally agree
      At least this latest abuse is another executive order
      If Ca can manage to throw off Newsom in ‘22 his EOs can be voided

  4. Some of us knew from Day One that this would happen (among other things) and of course we were tsk-tsked for it relentlessly. But even I didn’t think we would STILL be steeped in this B.S. almost two years later. It’s a nightmare. Happy now, all you virtue-signaling, Gavin-loving sheep? You’d better be, to make it worthwhile, because a lot of people out here are still very much suffering in this state. Which probably also makes you happy. Mind-boggling blindness.

    1. Showandtell: Agreed. Most Germans claimed to support the Nazis until allied tanks were physically rolling down their streets. Only then did the white flags come out. We’re a long way from white flags.

  5. After last week, it’s only going to get worse with clueless Newsom; he only caters to bay area liberals and no others. No point scolding the democrats in this forum, or any other. Last weeks’ recall shows they don’t read anything or really pay attention to what’s going on; I’m amazed at how truly dumb California democrat voters are. After last week, I’m also discouraged about the future in saving this state, but I refuse to leave and give up this beautiful once great state to a bunch of parasites. Bring back the businesses’ and skilled jobs!
    I’m wondering now, what or where can I join-up with other like-minded folks to turn this place around? Yes, nearly half the voters are democrat making it tough to win elections, but many of them don’t even show up to vote. A well organized motivated minority might be able to slowly erode the current democrat/republican ratio in the legislature (60/20). Can anyone suggest a group or organization one can join in this fight?

    1. Listen to a21r.com between 6-9 am. Look up New CA State.com. NCS will split CA and be the 51st state. Sign some affidavits!

  6. Herr Schwab needs his “rising star” Gravelly Gavvie Greasyhead to remain in power, unchallenged thru the mid-terms and prepare him for his anointing to the Presidency in 2024….

  7. One of the reasons (among many others) in-person meetings are so important is because it allows a different perspective to see who shows up and why, and provides a great education on the real workings of government. For instance, regular attendance at my local district’s school board meetings let me know who was typically there (rarely parents), which gave an important context for reporting what was actually going on off-camera. Often it was special interests lined up for a piece of the school budget money pie, activists handing out goodies to the parents in the country illegally, etc. Once a woman who had never attended a meeting before, who signed up to speak (on camera), after which she disappeared, turned up shortly thereafter as a (leftist) candidate for school board. A lot of this COVID stuff has been about preventing like-minded people from talking to each other and organizing against the kind of crap we’re dealing with now in the traditional ways. As you know…

  8. If Democrats like Gov. Newsom and Assemblyman Robert Rivas had their way, there would not be any public meetings at all? No doubt they would just like to issue decrees like the authoritarian, totalitarian dictators they are?

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