Open Meetings for Local Legislative Bodies
The Brown Act, enacted by the California State Legislature in 1953 (Gov. Code, §54950 et seq) was established to guarantee the public's right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies. The intent of the law is to ensure that actions of public commissions, boards, and councils be taken openly and that deliberations be conducted openly and that the public be provided the right to comment on any matter under the jurisdiction of a public body. The law states: "All meetings of the legislative body of a local agency shall be open and public, and all persons shall be permitted to attend any meeting of the legislative body of a local agency, except as otherwise provided in [the Act]."
The Brown Act applies to California city and county government agencies boards and councils. The Bagley–Keane Act mandates open meetings for state government agencies. The California State Attorney General website offers summary guides to each Act:
resource guide to the Brown Act (Revised April 2016).
In November 2004, 50 years after the adoption of the Brown Act, the people of the California reconfirmed the Act’s intent by adopting Proposition 59, which amended the California Constitution to include a public right of access to government information: "The people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny."