SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Scott Wilk's, R- Santa Clarita, bill AB 85 which will stop state agencies from taking advantage of a loophole that allows them to hold closed door meetings without public involvement passed unanimously out of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.
“State agencies, such as the California High-Speed Rail Authority, have been exploiting a loophole to hold two-member committee meetings without following standard transparency practices,” said Wilk. “It is imperative for the public to be included in meetings that directly affect them. We must urge our government to conduct its business in a visible and transparent manner.”
AB 85 clarifies existing law and defines a “state body” as any multimember committee.
Current law requires all standing committees of a local government entity or of the Legislature to hold meetings that are open to the public whether or not the standing committee takes action. However, existing law is slightly ambiguous for state bodies, which some state agencies are exploiting as a loophole.
This loophole is being used to circumvent open meeting requirements. Agencies limit their standing committees to no more than two members for the explicit purpose of avoiding open meeting requirements and public scrutiny.
Next, the bill heads to Senate Appropriations Committee.