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The Ralph M. Brown Act

Brown Act (Downloadable PDF)

​The Ralph M. Brown Act

54950. Policy declaration
54950.5. Title
54951. Definition of local agency
54952. Definition of legislative body
54952.1. Definition of member of a legislative body
54952.2. Definition of meeting
54952.6. Definition of action taken
54952.7. Copies of Act; Distribution
54953. Open meetings required; Video teleconferencing; Secret ballots
54953.1. Grand jury testimony by members
54953.3. Conditions to attendance at meetings
54953.5. Recording meetings
54953.6. Broadcasting meetings
54953.7. Greater access to meetings permitted
54954. Notice of regular meetings; Boundary restrictions for all meetings
54954.1. Mailed notice of meetings
54954.2. Agenda requirements; Regular meetings
54954.3. Public’s right to testify at meetings
54954.4. Reimbursement of costs
54954.5. Safe harbor agenda for closed sessions
54954.6 New taxes and or assessments; Procedural requirements
54955. Adjournment
54955.1. Continuance
54956. Special meetings
54956.5. Emergency meetings
54956.6. Fees
54956.7. Closed session; License application of rehabilitated criminal
54956.8. Closed session; Real estate negotiations
54956.9. Closed session pending litigation
54956.95. Closed session; Insurance liability
54957. Closed session; Personnel and threat to public security
54957.1. Report at conclusion of closed session
54957.2. Minutes of closed session
54957.5. Agendas and other materials; Public records
54957.6. Closed session; Labor negotiations
54957.7. Announcement prior to closed session
54957.8. Closed session; Multijurisdictional drug enforcement agency
54957.9. Disruption of meeting
54958. Act supercedes conflicting laws
54959. Violation of Act; Criminal penalty
54960. Violation of Act; Civil remedies
54960.1. Violation of Act; Actions declared null and void
54960.5. Costs and attorney fees
54961. Discrimination; Disabled access; Fees for attendance; Disclosure of victims
54962. Closed session; Express authorization required
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The Ralph M. Brown Act

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54950. Policy declaration

In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils
and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent
of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.

The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in
delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to
know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may
retain control over the instruments they have created.

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54950.5. Title
This chapter shall be known as the Ralph M. Brown Act.

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54951. Definition of local agency
As used in this chapter, “local agency” means a county, city, whether general law or chartered, city and
county, town, school district, municipal corporation, district, political subdivision, or any board,
commission or agency thereof, or other local public agency.

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54952. Definition of legislative body
As used in this chapter, “legislative body” means:

(a) The governing body of a local agency or any other local body created by state or federal statute.

(b) A commission, committee, board, or other body of a local agency, whether permanent or temporary,
decisionmaking or advisory, created by charter, ordinance, resolution, or formal action of a legislative
body. However, advisory committees, composed solely of the members of the legislative body which are
less than a quorum of the legislative body are not legislative bodies, except that standing committees of a
legislative body, irrespective of their composition, which have a continuing subject matter jurisdiction, or a
meeting schedule fixed by charter, ordinance, resolution, or formal action of a legislative body are
legislative bodies for purposes of this chapter.

(c) A board, commission, committee, or other multimember body that governs a private corporation or
entity that either:

(1) Is created by the elected legislative body in order to exercise authority that may lawfully be delegated
by the elected governing body to a private corporation or entity.

(2) Receives funds from a local agency and the membership of whose governing body includes a member
of the legislative body of the local agency appointed to that governing body by the legislative body of the
local agency.

(d) The lessee of any hospital the whole or part of which is first leased pursuant to subdivision (p) of
Section 32121 of the Health and Safety Code after January 1, 1994, where the lessee exercises any material
authority of a legislative body of a local agency delegated to it by that legislative body whether the lessee is
organized and operated by the local agency or by a delegated authority.

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54952.1. Definition of member of a legislative body

Any person elected to serve as a member of a legislative body who has not yet assumed the duties of office
shall conform his or her conduct to the requirements of this chapter and shall be treated for purposes of
enforcement of this chapter as if he or she has already assumed office.

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54952.2. Definition of meeting
(a) As used in this chapter, “meeting” includes any congregation of a majority of the members of a
legislative body at the same time and place to hear, discuss, or deliberate upon any item that is within the
subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body or the local agency to which it pertains.

(b) Except as authorized pursuant to Section 54953, any use of direct communication, personal
intermediaries, or technological devices that is employed by a majority of the members of the legislative
body to develop a collective concurrence as to action to be taken on an item by the members of the
legislative body is prohibited.

(c) Nothing in this section shall impose the requirements of this chapter upon any of the following:

(1) Individual contacts or conversations between a member of a legislative body and any other person.

(2) The attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at a conference or similar gathering
open to the public that involves a discussion of issues of general interest to the public or to public agencies
of the type represented by the legislative body, provided that a majority of the members do not discuss
among themselves, other than as part of the scheduled program, business of a specified nature that is within
the subject matter jurisdiction of the local agency. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to allow members
of the public free admission to a conference or similar gathering at which the organizers have required
other participants or registrants to pay fees or charges as a condition of attendance.

(3) The attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at an open and publicized meeting
organized to address a topic of local community concern by a person or organization other than the local
agency, provided that a majority of the members do not discuss among themselves, other than as part of the
scheduled program, business of a specific nature that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the
legislative body of the local agency.

(4) The attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at an open and noticed meeting of
another body of the local agency, provided that a majority of the members do not discuss among
themselves, other than as part of the scheduled meeting, business of a specific nature that is within the
subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body of the local agency.

(5) The attendance of a majority of the members of a legislative body at a purely social or ceremonial
occasion, provided that a majority of the members do not discuss among themselves business of a specific
nature that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body of the local agency.

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54952.6. Definition of action taken
As used in this chapter, “action taken” means a collective decision made by a majority of the members of a
legislative body, a collective commitment or promise by a majority of the members of a legislative body to
make a positive or a negative decision, or an actual vote by a majority of the members of a legislative body
when sitting as a body or entity, upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order or ordinance.

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54952.7. Copies of Act; Distribution
A legislative body of a local agency may require that a copy of this chapter be given to each member of the
legislative body and any person elected to serve as a member of the legislative body who has not assumed

the duties of office. An elected legislative body of a local agency may require that a copy of this chapter be
given to each member of each legislative body all or a majority of whose members are appointed by or
under the authority of the elected legislative body.

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54953. Open meetings required; Video teleconferencing; Secret ballots
(a) 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
this chapter.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the legislative body of a local agency may use video
teleconferencing for the benefit of the public or the legislative body of a local agency in connection with
any meeting or proceeding authorized by law.

(2) The use of video teleconferencing, as authorized by this chapter, shall be limited to the receipt of public
comment or testimony by the legislative body and to deliberations of the legislative body.

(3) If the legislative body of a local agency elects to use video teleconferencing, it shall post agendas at all
video teleconference locations and adopt reasonable regulations to adequately protect the statutory or
constitutional rights of the parties or the public appearing before the legislative body of a local agency.

(4) The term “video teleconference” shall mean a system which provides for both audio and visual
participation between all members of the legislative body and the public attending a meeting or hearing at
any video teleconference location.

(c) No legislative body shall take action by secret ballot, whether preliminary or final.

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54953.1. Grand jury testimony by members
The provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to prohibit the members of the legislative body of a
local agency from giving testimony in private before a grand jury, either as individuals or as a body.

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54953.3. Conditions to attendance at meetings
A member of the public shall not be required, as a condition to attendance at a meeting of a legislative body
of a local agency, to register his or her name, to provide other information, to complete a questionnaire, or
otherwise to fulfill any condition precedent to his or her attendance.

If an attendance list, register, questionnaire, or other similar document is posted at or near the entrance to
the room where the meeting is to be held, or is circulated to the persons present during the meeting, it shall
state clearly that the signing, registering, or completion of the document is voluntary, and that all persons
may attend the meeting regardless of whether a person signs, registers, or completes the document.

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54953.5. Recording meetings
(a) Any person attending an open and public meeting of a legislative body of a local agency shall have the
right to record the proceedings with an audio or video tape recorder or a still or motion picture camera in
the absence of a reasonable finding by the legislative body of the local agency that the recording cannot
continue without noise, illumination, or obstruction of view that constitutes, or would constitute, a
persistent disruption of the proceedings.

(b) Any tape or film record of an open and public meeting made for whatever purpose by or at the direction
of the local agency shall be subject to inspection pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5
(commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1), but, notwithstanding Section 34090, may be
erased or destroyed 30 days after the taping or recording. Any inspection of a video or tape recording shall
be provided without charge on a tape player made available by the local agency.

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54953.6. Broadcasting meetings
No legislative body of a local agency shall prohibit or otherwise restrict the broadcast of its open and public
meetings in the absence of a reasonable finding that the broadcast cannot be accomplished without noise,
illumination, or obstruction of view that would constitute a persistent disruption of the proceedings.

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54953.7. Greater access to meetings permitted
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, legislative bodies of local agencies may impose requirements
upon themselves which allow greater access to their meetings than prescribed by the minimal standards set
forth in this chapter. In addition thereto, an elected legislative body of a local agency may impose such
requirements on those appointed legislative bodies of the local agency of which all or a majority of the
members are appointed by or under the authority of the elected legislative body.

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54954. Notice of regular meetings; Boundary restrictions for all meetings
(a) The legislative body of a local agency shall provide, by ordinance, resolution, bylaws, or by whatever
other rule is required for the conduct of business by that body, the time and place for holding regular
meetings.

(b) Regular and special meetings of the legislative body shall be held within the boundaries of the territory
over which the local agency exercises jurisdiction except to do any of the following:

(1) Comply with state or federal law or court order, or attend a judicial or administrative proceeding to
which the local agency is a party.

(2) Inspect real or personal property which cannot be conveniently brought within the boundaries of the
territory over which the local agency exercises jurisdiction provided that the topic of the meeting is limited
to items directly related to the real or personal property.

(3) Participate in meetings or discussions of multiagency significance that are outside the boundaries of a
local agency’s jurisdiction. However, any meeting or discussion held pursuant to this subdivision shall take
place within the jurisdiction of one of the participating local agencies and be noticed by all participating
agencies as provided for in this chapter.

(4) Meet in the closest meeting facility if the local agency has no meeting facility within the boundaries of
the territory over which the local agency exercises jurisdiction, or at the principal office of the local agency
if that office is located outside the territory over which the agency exercises jurisdiction.

(5) Meet outside their immediate jurisdiction with elected or appointed officials of the United States or the
State of California when a local meeting would be impractical, solely to discuss a legislative or regulatory
issue affecting the local agency and over which the federal or state officials have jurisdiction.

(6) Meet outside their immediate jurisdiction if the meeting takes place in or nearby a facility owned by the
agency, provided that the topic of the meeting is limited to items directly related to the facility.

(7) Visit the office of the local agency’s legal counsel for a closed session on pending litigation held
pursuant to Section 54956.9, when to do so would reduce legal fees or costs.

(c) Meetings of the governing board of a school district shall be held within the district except under the
circumstances enumerated in subdivision (b), or to do any of the following:

(1) Attend a conference on nonadversarial collective bargaining techniques.

(2) Interview members of the public residing in another district with reference to the trustees’ potential
employment of the superintendent of that district.

(3) Interview a potential employee from another district.

(d) Meetings of a joint powers authority shall occur within the territory of at least one of its member
agencies, or as provided in subdivision (b). However, a joint powers authority which has members
throughout the state may meet at any facility in the state which complies with the requirements of Section
54961.

(e) If, by reason of fire, flood, earthquake, or other emergency, it shall be unsafe to meet in the place
designated, the meetings shall be held for the duration of the emergency at the place designated by the
presiding officer of the legislative body or his or her designee in a notice to the local media that have
requested notice pursuant to Section 54956, by the most rapid means of communication available at the
time.

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54954.1. Mailed notice of meetings
The legislative body which is subject to the provisions of this chapter shall give mailed notice of every
regular meeting, and any special meeting which is called at least one week prior to the date set for the
meeting, to any person who has filed a written request for that notice with the legislative body. Any mailed
notice required pursuant to this section shall be mailed at least one week prior to the date set for the
meeting to which it applies except that the legislative body may give the notice as it deems practical of
special meetings called less than seven days prior to the date set for the meeting.

Any request for notice filed pursuant to this section shall be valid for one year from the date on which it is
filed unless a renewal request is filed. Renewal requests for notice shall be filed within 90 days after
January 1 of each year.

The failure of any person to receive the notice given pursuant to this section shall not constitute grounds for
any court to invalidate the actions of the legislative body for which the notice was given.

The legislative body may establish a reasonable annual fee for sending the notice based on the estimated
cost of providing the service.

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54954.2. Agenda requirements; Regular meetings
(a) At least 72 hours before a regular meeting, the legislative body of the local agency, or its designee, shall
post an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed
at the meeting, including items to be discussed in closed session. A brief general description of an item
generally need not exceed 20 words. The agenda shall specify the time and location of the regular meeting
and shall be posted in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.

No action or discussion shall be undertaken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda, except that
members of a legislative body or its staff may briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by
persons exercising their public testimony rights under Section 54954.3. In addition, on their own initiative

or in response to questions posed by the public, a member of a legislative body or its staff may ask a
question for clarification, make a brief announcement, or make a brief report on his or her own activities.
Furthermore, a member of a legislative body, or the body itself, subject to rules or procedures of the
legislative body, may provide a reference to staff or other resources for factual information, request staff to
report back to the body at a subsequent meeting concerning any matter, or take action to direct staff to
place a matter of business on a future agenda.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the legislative body may take action on items of business not
appearing on the posted agenda under any of the conditions stated below. Prior to discussing any item
pursuant to this subdivision, the legislative body shall publicly identify the item.

(1) Upon a determination by a majority vote of the legislative body that an emergency situation exists, as
defined in Section 54956.5.

(2) Upon a determination by a two-thirds vote of the legislative body, or, if less than two-thirds of the
members are present, a unanimous vote of those members present, that there is a need to take immediate
action and that the need for action came to the attention of the local agency subsequent to the agenda being
posted as specified in subdivision (a).

(3) The item was posted pursuant to subdivision (a) for a prior meeting of the legislative body occurring not
more than five calendar days prior to the date action is taken on the item, and at the prior meeting the item
was continued to the meeting at which action is being taken.

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54954.3. Public’s right to testify at meetings
(a) Every agenda for regular meetings shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly
address the legislative body on any item of interest to the public, before or during the legislative body’s
consideration of the item, that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body, provided that
no action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the agenda unless the action is otherwise authorized
by subdivision (b) of Section 54954.2. However, the agenda need not provide an opportunity for members
of the public to address the legislative body on any item that has already been considered by a committee,
composed exclusively of members of the legislative body, at a public meeting wherein all interested
members of the public were afforded the opportunity to address the committee on the item, before or during
the committee’s consideration of the item, unless the item has been substantially changed since the
committee heard the item, as determined by the legislative body. Every notice for a special meeting shall
provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body concerning any
item that has been described in the notice for the meeting before or during consideration of that item.

(b) The legislative body of a local agency may adopt reasonable regulations to ensure that the intent of
subdivision (a) is carried out, including, but not limited to, regulations limiting the total amount of time
allocated for public testimony on particular issues and for each individual speaker.

(c) The legislative body of a local agency shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, procedures,
programs, or services of the agency, or of the acts or omissions of the legislative body. Nothing in this
subdivision shall confer any privilege or protection for expression beyond that otherwise provided by law.

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54954.4. Reimbursement of costs
(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that Section 12 of Chapter 641 of the Statutes of 1986,
authorizing reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for costs mandated by the state pursuant to
that act, shall be interpreted strictly. The intent of the Legislature is to provide reimbursement for only
those costs which are clearly and unequivocally incurred as the direct and necessary result of compliance
with Chapter 641 of the Statutes of 1986.

(b) In this regard, the Legislature directs all state employees and officials involved in reviewing or
authorizing claims for reimbursement, or otherwise participating in the reimbursement process, to
rigorously review each claim and authorize only those claims, or parts thereof, which represent costs which
are clearly and unequivocally incurred as the direct and necessary result of compliance with Chapter 641 of
the Statutes of 1986 and for which complete documentation exists. For purposes of Section 54954.2, costs
eligible for reimbursement shall only include the actual cost to post a single agenda for any one meeting.

(c) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that complete, faithful, and uninterrupted compliance with the
Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the
Government Code) is a matter of overriding public importance. Unless specifically stated, no future Budget
Act, or related budget enactments, shall, in any manner, be interpreted to suspend, eliminate, or otherwise
modify the legal obligation and duty of local agencies to fully comply with Chapter 641 of the Statutes of
1986 in a complete, faithful, and uninterrupted manner.

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54954.5. Safe harbor agenda for closed sessions
For purposes of describing closed session items pursuant to Section 54954.2, the agenda may describe
closed sessions as provided below. No legislative body or elected official shall be in violation of Section
54954.2 or 54956 if the closed session items were described in substantial compliance with this section.
Substantial compliance is satisfied by including the information provided below, irrespective of its format.

(a) With respect to a closed session held pursuant to Section 54956.7:

LICENSE/PERMIT DETERMINATION

Applicant(s): (Specify number of applicants)

(b) With respect to every item of business to be discussed in closed session pursuant to Section 54956.8:

CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATOR

Property: (Specify street address, or if no street address, the parcel number or other unique reference, of the
real property under negotiation)

Negotiating parties: (Specify name of party (not agent))

Under negotiation: (Specify whether instruction to negotiator will concern price, terms of payment, or both)

(c) With respect to every item of business to be discussed in closed session pursuant to Section 54956.9:

CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – EXISTING LITIGATION (Subdivision (a) of Section
54956.9)

Name of case: (Specify by reference to claimant’s name, names of parties, case or claim numbers)

or

Case name unspecified: (Specify whether disclosure would jeopardize service of process or existing
settlement negotiations)

CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – ANTICIPATED LITIGATION

Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 54956.9: (Specify number of
potential cases)

(In addition to the information noticed above, the agency may be required to provide additional information
on the agenda or in an oral statement prior to the closed session pursuant to subparagraphs (B) to (E),
inclusive, of paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 54956.9.)

Initiation of litigation pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 54956.9: (Specify number of potential cases)

(d) With respect to every item of business to be discussed in closed session pursuant to Section 54956.95:

LIABILITY CLAIMS

Claimant: (Specify name unless unspecified pursuant to Section 54961)

Agency claimed against: (Specify name)

(e) With respect to every item of business to be discussed in closed session pursuant to Section 54957:

THREAT TO PUBLIC SERVICES OR FACILITIES

Consultation with: (Specify name of law enforcement agency and title of officer)

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE APPOINTMENT

Title: (Specify description of position to be filled)

PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT

Title: (Specify description of position to be filled)

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION

Title: (Specify position title of employee being reviewed)

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DISMISSAL/RELEASE

(No additional information is required in connection with a closed session to consider discipline, dismissal,
or release of a public employee. Discipline includes potential reduction of compensation.)

(f) With respect to every item of business to be discussed in closed session pursuant to Section 54957.6:

CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATOR

Agency negotiator: (Specify name)

Employee organization: (Specify name of organization representing employee or employees in question)

or

Unrepresented employee: (Specify position title of unrepresented employee who is the subject of the
negotiations)

(g) With respect to closed sessions called pursuant to Section 54957.8:

CASE REVIEW/PLANNING

(No additional information is required in connection with a closed session to consider case review or
planning.)

(h) With respect to every item of business to be discussed in closed session pursuant to Sections 1461,
32106, and 32155 of the Health and Safety Code or Sections 37606 and 37624.3 of the Government Code:

REPORT INVOLVING TRADE SECRET

Discussion will concern: (Specify whether discussion will concern proposed new service, program, or
facility)

Estimated date of public disclosure: (Specify month and year)

HEARINGS

Subject matter: (Specify whether testimony/deliberation will concern staff privileges, report of medical
audit committee, or report of quality assurance committee)

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54954.6 New taxes and or assessments; Procedural requirements
(a) (1) Before adopting any new or increased general tax or any new or increased assessment, the
legislative body of a city, county, special district, or joint powers authority shall conduct at least one public
meeting at which local officials must allow public testimony regarding the proposed new or increased
general tax or new or increased assessment in addition to the noticed public hearing at which the legislative
body proposes to enact or increase the general tax or assessment.

For purposes of this section, the term “new or increased assessment” does not include any of the following:

(A) A fee which does not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the services, facilities, or regulatory
activity for which the fee is charged.

(B) A service charge or benefit charge, unless a special district’s principal act requires service charges or
benefit charges to conform to the requirements of this section.

(C) An ongoing annual assessment if it is imposed at the same or lower amount as any previous year.

(D) An assessment which does not exceed an assessment formula or range of assessments previously
adopted by the agency or approved by the voters in the area where the assessment is imposed.

(E) Standby or immediate availability charges.

(2) The legislative body shall provide at least 45 days’ public notice of the public hearing at which the
legislative body proposes to enact or increase the general tax or assessment. The legislative body shall
provide notice for the public meeting at the same time and in the same document as the notice for the
public hearing, but the meeting shall occur prior to the hearing.

(b) (1) The joint notice of both the public meeting and the public hearing required by subdivision (a) with
respect to a proposal for a new or increased general tax shall be accomplished by placing a display
advertisement of at least one-eighth page in a newspaper of general circulation for three weeks pursuant to
Section 6063 and by a first-class mailing to those interested parties who have filed a written request with
the local agency for mailed notice of public meetings or hearings on new or increased general taxes. The
public meeting pursuant to subdivision (a) shall take place no earlier than 10 days after the first publication
of the joint notice pursuant to this subdivision. The public hearing shall take place no earlier than seven
days after the public meeting pursuant to this subdivision. Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of subdivision
(a), the joint notice need not include notice of the public meeting after the meeting has taken place. The

public hearing pursuant to subdivision (a) shall take place no earlier than 45 days after the first publication
of the joint notice pursuant to this subdivision. The public hearing shall take place no earlier than seven
days after the public meeting pursuant to this subdivision. Any written request for mailed notices shall be
effective for one year from the date on which it is filed unless a renewal request is filed. Renewal requests
for mailed notices shall be filed on or before April 1 of each year. The legislative body may establish a
reasonable annual charge for sending notices based on the estimated cost of providing the service.

(2) The notice required by paragraph (1) of this subdivision shall include, but not be limited to, the
following:

(A) The amount or rate of the tax. If the tax is proposed to be increased from any previous year, the joint
notice shall separately state both the existing tax rate and the proposed tax rate increase.

(B) The activity to be taxed.

(C) The estimated amount of revenue to be raised by the tax annually.

(D) The method and frequency for collecting the tax.

(E) The dates, times, and locations of the public meeting and hearing described in subdivision (a).

(F) The phone number and address of an individual, office, or organization that interested persons may
contact to receive additional information about the tax.

(c) (1) The joint notice of both the public meeting and the public hearing required by subdivision (a) with
respect to a proposal for a new or increased assessment on real property shall be accomplished through a
mailing, postage prepaid, in the United States mail and shall be deemed given when so deposited. The
public meeting pursuant to subdivision (a) shall take place no earlier than 10 days after the joint mailing
pursuant to this subdivision. The public hearing shall take place no earlier than seven days after the public
meeting pursuant to this subdivision. The envelope or the cover of the mailing shall include the name of the
local agency and the return address of the sender. This mailed notice shall be in at least 10-point type and
be given to all property owners proposed to be subject to the new or increased assessment by a mailing by
name to those persons whose names and addresses appear on the last equalized county assessment roll or
the State Board of Equalization assessment roll, as the case may be.

(2) The joint notice required by paragraph (1) of this subdivision shall include, but not be limited to, the
following:

(A) The estimated amount of the assessment per parcel. If the assessment is proposed to be increased from
any previous year, the joint notice shall separately state both the amount of the existing assessment and the
proposed assessment increase.

(B) A general description of the purpose or improvements that the assessment will fund.

(C) The address to which property owners may mail a protest against the assessment.

(D) The phone number and address of an individual, office, or organization that interested persons may
contact to receive additional information about the assessment.

(E) A statement that a majority protest will cause the assessment to be abandoned if the assessment act used
to levy the assessment so provides. Notice must also state the percentage of protests required to trigger an
election, if applicable.

(F) The dates, times, and locations of the public meeting and hearing described in subdivision (a).

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), in the case of an assessment which is proposed exclusively for
operation and maintenance expenses for an entire city, county, or district, or operation and maintenance
assessments proposed to be levied on 50,000 parcels or more, notice may be provided pursuant to
paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) and shall include the information required by paragraph (2) of subdivision
(c).

(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), in the case of an assessment proposed to be levied pursuant to Part 2
(commencing with Section 22500) of Division 2 of the Streets and Highways Code by a regional park
district, regional park and open-space district, or regional open-space district formed pursuant to Article 3
(commencing with Section 5500) of Chapter 3 of Division 5 of, or pursuant to Division 26 (commencing
with Section 35100) of, the Public Resources Code, notice may be provided pursuant to paragraph (1) of
subdivision (b).

(d) The notice requirements imposed by this section shall be construed as additional to, and not to
supersede, existing provisions of law, and shall be applied concurrently with the existing provisions so as to
not delay or prolong the governmental decision-making process.

(e) This section shall not apply to any new or increased general tax or any new or increased assessment that
requires an election of either of the following:

(1) The property owners subject to the assessment.

(2) The voters within the city, county, special district, or joint powers authority imposing the tax or
assessment.

(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a local agency from holding a consolidated meeting or hearing at
which the legislative body discusses multiple tax or assessment proposals.

(g) The local agency may recover the reasonable costs of public meetings, public hearings, and notice
required by this section from the proceeds of the tax or assessment. The costs recovered for these purposes,
whether recovered pursuant to this subdivision or any other provision of law, shall not exceed the
reasonable costs of the public meetings, public hearings, and notice.

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54955. Adjournment
The legislative body of a local agency may adjourn any regular, adjourned regular, special or adjourned
special meeting to a time and place specified in the order of adjournment. Less than a quorum may so
adjourn from time to time. If all members are absent from any regular or adjourned regular meeting the
clerk or secretary of the legislative body may declare the meeting adjourned to a stated time and place and
he shall cause a written notice of the adjournment to be given in the same manner as provided in Section
54956 for special meetings, unless such notice is waived as provided for special meetings. A copy of the
order or notice of adjournment shall be conspicuously posted on or near the door of the place where the
regular, adjourned regular, special or adjourned special meeting was held within 24 hours after the time of
the adjournment. When a regular or adjourned regular meeting is adjourned as provided in this section, the
resulting adjourned regular meeting is a regular meeting for all purposes. When an order of adjournment of
any meeting fails to state the hour at which the adjourned meeting is to be held, it shall be held at the hour
specified for regular meetings by ordinance, resolution, by law, or other rule.

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54955.1. Continuance
Any hearing being held, or noticed or ordered to be held, by a legislative body of a local agency at any
meeting may by order or notice of continuance be continued or recontinued to any subsequent meeting of
the legislative body in the same manner and to the same extent set forth in Section 54955 for the
adjournment of meetings; provided, that if the hearing is continued to a time less than 24 hours after the

time specified in the order or notice of hearing, a copy of the order or notice of continuance of hearing shall
be posted immediately following the meeting at which the order or declaration of continuance was adopted
or made.

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54956.5. Emergency meetings In the case of an emergency situation involving matters upon which prompt
action is necessary due to the disruption or threatened disruption of public facilities, a legislative body may
hold an emergency meeting without complying with either the 24-hour notice requirement or the 24-hour
posting requirement of Section 54956 or both of the notice and posting requirements.
For purposes of this section, “emergency situation” means any of the following:

(a) Work stoppage or other activity which severely impairs public health, safety, or both, as determined by
a majority of the members of the legislative body.

(b) Crippling disaster which severely impairs public health, safety, or both, as determined by a majority of
the members of the legislative body.

However, each local newspaper of general circulation and radio or television station which has requested
notice of special meetings pursuant to Section 54956 shall be notified by the presiding officer of the
legislative body, or designee thereof, one hour prior to the emergency meeting by telephone and all
telephone numbers provided in the most recent request of such newspaper or station for notification of
special meetings shall be exhausted. In the event that telephone services are not functioning, the notice
requirements of this section shall be deemed waived, and the legislative body, or designee of the legislative
body, shall notify those newspapers, radio stations, or television stations of the fact of the holding of the
emergency meeting, the purpose of the meeting, and any action taken at the meeting as soon after the
meeting as possible.

Notwithstanding Section 54957, the legislative body shall not meet in closed session during a meeting
called pursuant to this section.

All special meeting requirements, as prescribed in Section 54956 shall be applicable to a meeting called
pursuant to this section, with the exception of the 24-hour notice requirement.

The minutes of a meeting called pursuant to this section, a list of persons who the presiding officer of the
legislative body, or designee of the legislative body, notified or attempted to notify, a copy of the rollcall
vote, and any actions taken at the meeting shall be posted for a minimum of 10 days in a public place as
soon after the meeting as possible.

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54956.6. Fees
No fees may be charged by the legislative body of a local agency for carrying out any provision of this
chapter, except as specifically authorized by this chapter.

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54956.7. Closed session; License application of rehabilitated criminal
Whenever a legislative body of a local agency determines that it is necessary to discuss and determine
whether an applicant for a license or license renewal, who has a criminal record, is sufficiently rehabilitated
to obtain the license, the legislative body may hold a closed session with the applicant and the applicant’s
attorney, if any, for the purpose of holding the discussion and making the determination. If the legislative
body determines, as a result of the closed session, that the issuance or renewal of the license should be
denied, the applicant shall be offered the opportunity to withdraw the application. If the applicant
withdraws the application, no record shall be kept of the discussions or decisions made at the closed session
and all matters relating to the closed session shall be confidential. If the applicant does not withdraw the

application, the legislative body shall take action at the public meeting during which the closed session is
held or at its next public meeting denying the application for the license but all matters relating to the
closed session are confidential and shall not be disclosed without the consent of the applicant, except in an
action by an applicant who has been denied a license challenging the denial of the license.

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54956.8. Closed session; Real estate negotiations
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a legislative body of a local agency may hold a closed
session with its negotiator prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by or for the local
agency to grant authority to its negotiator regarding the price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale,
exchange, or lease.

However, prior to the closed session, the legislative body of the local agency shall hold an open and public
session in which it identifies the real property or real properties which the negotiations may concern and the
person or persons with whom its negotiator may negotiate.

For the purpose of this section, the negotiator may be a member of the legislative body of the local agency.

For purposes of this section, “lease” includes renewal or renegotiation of a lease.

Nothing in this section shall preclude a local agency from holding a closed session for discussions
regarding eminent domain proceedings pursuant to Section 54956.9.

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54956.9. Closed session pending litigation
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a legislative body of a local agency, based on advice
of its legal counsel, from holding a closed session to confer with, or receive advice from, its legal counsel
regarding pending litigation when discussion in open session concerning those matters would prejudice the
position of the local agency in the litigation.

For purposes of this chapter, all expressions of the lawyer- client privilege other than those provided in this
section are hereby abrogated. This section is the exclusive expression of the lawyer-client privilege for
purposes of conducting closed- session meetings pursuant to this chapter.

For purposes of this section, “litigation” includes any adjudicatory proceeding, including eminent domain,
before a court, administrative body exercising its adjudicatory authority, hearing officer, or arbitrator.

For purposes of this section, litigation shall be considered pending when any of the following
circumstances exist:

(a) Litigation, to which the local agency is a party, has been initiated formally.

(b) (1) A point has been reached where, in the opinion of the legislative body of the local agency on the
advice of its legal counsel, based on existing facts and circumstances, there is a significant exposure to
litigation against the local agency.

(2) Based on existing facts and circumstances, the legislative body of the local agency is meeting only to
decide whether a closed session is authorized pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subdivision.

(3) For purposes of paragraphs (1) and (2), “existing facts and circumstances” shall consist only of one of
the following:

(A) Facts and circumstances that might result in litigation against the local agency but which the local
agency believes are not yet known to a potential plaintiff or plaintiffs, which facts and circumstances need
not be disclosed

(B) Facts and circumstances, including, but not limited to, an accident, disaster, incident, or transactional
occurrence that might result in litigation against the agency and that are known to a potential plaintiff or
plaintiffs, which facts or circumstances shall be publicly stated on the agenda or announced.

(C) The receipt of a claim pursuant to the Tort Claims Act or some other written communication from a
potential plaintiff threatening litigation, which claim or communication shall be available for public
inspection pursuant to Section 54957.5.

(D) A statement made by a person in an open and public meeting threatening litigation on a specific matter
within the responsibility of the legislative body.

(E) A statement threatening litigation made by a person outside an open and public meeting on a specific
matter within the responsibility of the legislative body so long as the official or employee of the local
agency receiving knowledge of the threat makes a contemporaneous or other record of the statement prior
to the meeting, which record shall be available for public inspection pursuant to Section 54957.5. The
records so created need not identify the alleged victim of unlawful or tortious sexual conduct or anyone
making the threat on their behalf, or identify a public employee who is the alleged perpetrator of any
unlawful or tortious conduct upon which a threat of litigation is based, unless the identity of the person has
been publicly disclosed.

(F) Nothing in this section shall require disclosure of written communications that are privileged and not
subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section
6250) of Division 7 of Title 1).

(c) Based on existing facts and circumstances, the legislative body of the local agency has decided to
initiate or is deciding whether to initiate litigation.

Prior to holding a closed session pursuant to this section, the legislative body of the local agency shall state
on the agenda or publicly announce the subdivision of this section that authorizes the closed session. If the
session is closed pursuant to subdivision (a), the body shall state the title of or otherwise specifically
identify the litigation to be discussed, unless the body states that to do so would jeopardize the agency’s
ability to effectuate service of process upon one or more unserved parties, or that to do so would jeopardize
its ability to conclude existing settlement negotiations to its advantage.

A local agency shall be considered to be a “party” or to have a “significant exposure to litigation” if an
officer or employee of the local agency is a party or has a significant exposure to litigation concerning prior
or prospective activities or alleged activities during the course and scope of that office or employment,
including litigation in which it is an issue whether an activity is outside the course and scope of the office
or employment.

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54956.95. Closed session; Insurance liability
(a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a joint powers agency formed pursuant to Article 1
(commencing with Section 6500) of Chapter 5 of Division 7 of Title 1, for purposes of insurance pooling,
or a local agency member of the joint powers agency, from holding a closed session to discuss a claim for
the payment of tort liability losses, public liability losses, or workers’ compensation liability incurred by the
joint powers agency or a local agency member of the joint powers agency.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the Local Agency Self-Insurance Authority formed
pursuant to Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 6599.01) of Division 7 of Title 1, or a local agency
member of the authority, from holding a closed session to discuss a claim for the payment of tort liability

losses, public liability losses, or workers’ compensation liability incurred by the authority or a local agency
member of the authority.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect Section 54956.9 with respect to any other local
agency.

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54957. Closed session; Personnel and threat to public security
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the legislative body of a local agency from
holding closed sessions with the Attorney General, district attorney, sheriff, or chief of police, or their
respective deputies, on matters posing a threat to the security of public buildings or a threat to the public’s
right of access to public services or public facilities, or from holding closed sessions during a regular or
special meeting to consider the appointment, employment, evaluation of performance, discipline, or
dismissal of a public employee or to hear complaints or charges brought against the employee by another
person or employee unless the employee requests a public session.

As a condition to holding a closed session on specific complaints or charges brought against an employee
by another person or employee, the employee shall be given written notice of his or her right to have the
complaints or charges heard in an open session rather than a closed session, which notice shall be delivered
to the employee personally or by mail at least 24 hours before the time for holding the session. If notice is
not given, any disciplinary or other action taken by the legislative body against the employee based on the
specific complaints or charges in the closed session shall be null and void.

The legislative body also may exclude from the public or closed meeting, during the examination of a
witness, any or all other witnesses in the matter being investigated by the legislative body.

For the purposes of this section, the term “employee” shall include an officer or an independent contractor
who functions as an officer or an employee but shall not include any elected official, member of a
legislative body or other independent contractors. Nothing in this section shall limit local officials’ ability to
hold closed session meetings pursuant to Sections 1461, 32106, and 32155 of the Health and Safety Code
or Sections 37606 and 37624.3 of the Government Code. Closed sessions held pursuant to this section shall
not include discussion or action on proposed compensation except for a reduction of compensation that
results from the imposition of discipline.

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54957.1. Report at conclusion of closed session
(a) The legislative body of any local agency shall publicly report any action taken in closed session and the
vote or abstention of every member present thereon, as follows:

(1) Approval of an agreement concluding real estate negotiations pursuant to Section 54956.8 shall be
reported after the agreement is final, as specified below:

(A) If its own approval renders the agreement final, the body shall report that approval and the substance of
the agreement in open session at the public meeting during which the closed session is held.

(B) If final approval rests with the other party to the negotiations, the local agency shall disclose the fact of
that approval and the substance of the agreement upon inquiry by any person, as soon as the other party or
its agent has informed the local agency of its approval.

(2) Approval given to its legal counsel to defend, or seek or refrain from seeking appellate review or relief,
or to enter as an amicus curiae in any form of litigation as the result of a consultation under Section
54956.9 shall be reported in open session at the public meeting during which the closed session is held. The
report shall identify, if known, the adverse party or parties and the substance of the litigation. In the case of
approval given to initiate or intervene in an action, the announcement need not identify the action, the

defendants, or other particulars, but shall specify that the direction to initiate or intervene in an action has
been given and that the action, the defendants, and other particulars shall, once formally commenced, be
disclosed to any person upon inquiry, unless to do so would jeopardize the agency’s ability to effectuate
service of process on one or more unserved parties, or that to do so would jeopardize its ability to conclude
existing settlement negotiations to its advantage.

(3) Approval given to its legal counsel of a settlement of pending litigation, as defined in Section 54956.9,
at any stage prior to or during a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding shall be reported after the settlement is
final, as specified below:

(A) If the legislative body accepts a settlement offer signed by the opposing party, the body shall report its
acceptance and identify the substance of the agreement in open session at the public meeting during which
the closed session is held.

(B) If final approval rests with some other party to the litigation or with the court, then as soon as the
settlement becomes final, and upon inquiry by any person, the local agency shall disclose the fact of that
approval, and identify the substance of the agreement.

(4) Disposition reached as to claims discussed in closed session pursuant to Section 54956.95 shall be
reported as soon as reached in a manner that identifies the name of the claimant, the name of the local
agency claimed against, the substance of the claim, and any monetary amount approved for payment and
agreed upon by the claimant.

(5) Action taken to appoint, employ, dismiss, accept the resignation of, or otherwise affect the employment
status of a public employee in closed session pursuant to Section 54957 shall be reported at the public
meeting during which the closed session is held. Any report required by this paragraph shall identify the
title of the position. The general requirement of this paragraph notwithstanding, the report of the dismissal
or of the nonrenewal of an employment contract shall be deferred until the first public meeting following
the exhaustion of administrative remedies, if any.

(6) Approval of an agreement concluding labor negotiations with represented employees pursuant to
Section 54957.6 shall be reported after the agreement is final and has been accepted or ratified by the other
party. The report shall identify the item approved and the other party or parties to the negotiation.

(b) Reports that are required to be made pursuant to this section may be made orally or in writing. The
legislative body shall provide to any person who has submitted a written request to the legislative body
within 24 hours of the posting of the agenda, or to any person who has made a standing request for all
documentation as part of a request for notice of meetings pursuant to Section 54954.1 or 54956, if the
requester is present at the time the closed session ends, copies of any contracts, settlement agreements, or
other documents that were finally approved or adopted in the closed session. If the action taken results in
one or more substantive amendments to the related documents requiring retyping, the documents need not
be released until the retyping is completed during normal business hours, provided that the presiding officer
of the legislative body or his or her designee orally summarizes the substance of the amendments for the
benefit of the document requester or any other person present and requesting the information.

(c) The documentation referred to in paragraph (b) shall be available to any person on the next business day
following the meeting in which the action referred to is taken or, in the case of substantial amendments,
when any necessary retyping is complete.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require that the legislative body approve actions not
otherwise subject to legislative body approval.

(e) No action for injury to a reputational, liberty, or other personal interest may be commenced by or on
behalf of any employee or former employee with respect to whom a disclosure is made by a legislative
body in an effort to comply with this section.

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54957.2. Minutes of closed session
(a) The legislative body of a local agency may, by ordinance or resolution, designate a clerk or other officer
or employee of the local agency who shall then attend each closed session of the legislative body and keep
and enter in a minute book a record of topics discussed and decisions made at the meeting. The minute
book made pursuant to this section is not a public record subject to inspection pursuant to the California
Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1), and shall be
kept confidential. The minute book shall be available only to members of the legislative body or, if a
violation of this chapter is alleged to have occurred at a closed session, to a court of general jurisdiction
wherein the local agency lies. Such minute book may, but need not, consist of a recording of the closed
session.

(b) An elected legislative body of a local agency may require that each legislative body all or a majority of
whose members are appointed by or under the authority of the elected legislative body keep a minute book
as prescribed under subdivision (a).

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54957.5. Agendas and other materials; Public records
(a) Notwithstanding Section 6255 or any other provisions of law, agendas of public meetings and any other
writings, when distributed to all, or a majority of all, of the members of a legislative body of a local agency
by any person in connection with a matter subject to discussion or consideration at a public meeting of the
body, are disclosable public records under the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing
with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1), and shall be made available upon request without delay.
However, this section shall not include any writing exempt from public disclosure under Section 6253.5,
6254, or 6254.7.

(b) Writings which are public records under subdivision (a) and which are distributed during a public
meeting shall be made available for public inspection at the meeting if prepared by the local agency or a
member of its legislative body, or after the meeting if prepared by some other person.

(c) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the legislative body of a local agency from
charging a fee or deposit for a copy of a public record pursuant to Section 6257.

(d) This section shall not be construed to limit or delay the public’s right to inspect any record required to
be disclosed under the requirements of the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with
Section 6250), Division 7, Title 1). Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require a legislative body
of a local agency to place any paid advertisement or any other paid notice in any publication.

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54957.6. Closed session; Labor negotiations
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a legislative body of a local agency may hold closed
sessions with the local agency’s designated representatives regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or
compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits of its represented and unrepresented employees, and, for
represented employees, any other matter within the statutorily-provided scope of representation. Closed
sessions of a legislative body of a local agency, as permitted in this section, shall be for the purpose of
reviewing its position and instructing the local agency’s designated representatives. Closed sessions, as
permitted in this section, may take place prior to and during consultations and discussions with
representatives of employee organizations and unrepresented employees.

Closed sessions with the local agency’s designated representative regarding the salaries, salary schedules, or
compensation paid in the form of fringe benefits may include discussion of an agency’s available funds and

funding priorities, but only insofar as these discussions relate to providing instructions to the local agency’s
designated representative.

Closed sessions held pursuant to this section shall not include final action on the proposed compensation of
one or more unrepresented employees.

For the purposes enumerated in this section, a legislative body of a local agency may also meet with a state
conciliator who has intervened in the proceedings.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “employee” shall include an officer or an independent
contractor who functions as an officer or an employee, but shall not include any elected official, member of
a legislative body, or other independent contractors.

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54957.7. Announcement prior to closed sessions
(a) Prior to holding any closed session, the legislative body of the local agency shall disclose, in an open
meeting, the item or items to be discussed in the closed session. The disclosure may take the form of a
reference to the item or items as they are listed by number or letter on the agenda. In the closed session, the
legislative body may consider only those matters covered in its statement. Nothing in this section shall
require or authorize a disclosure of information prohibited by state or federal law.

(b) After any closed session, the legislative body shall reconvene into open session prior to adjournment
and shall make any disclosures required by Section 54957.1 of action taken in the closed session.

(c) The announcements required to be made in open session pursuant to this section may be made at the
location announced in the agenda for the closed session, as long as the public is allowed to be present at
that location for the purpose of hearing the announcements.

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54957.8. Closed session; Multijurisdictional drug enforcement agency
Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the legislative body of a multijurisdictional
drug law enforcement agency, or an advisory body of a multijurisdictional drug law enforcement agency,
from holding closed sessions to discuss the case records of any ongoing criminal investigation of the
multijurisdictional drug law enforcement agency or of any party to the joint powers agreement, to hear
testimony from persons involved in the investigation, and to discuss courses of action in particular cases.

“Multijurisdictional drug law enforcement agency,” for purposes of this section, means a joint powers
entity formed pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 6500) of Chapter 5 of Division 7 of Title 1,
which provides drug law enforcement services for the parties to the joint powers agreement.

The Legislature finds and declares that this section is within the public interest, in that its provisions are
necessary to prevent the impairment of ongoing law enforcement investigations, to protect witnesses and
informants, and to permit the discussion of effective courses of action in particular cases.

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54957.9. Disruption of meeting
In the event that any meeting is wilfully interrupted by a group or groups of persons so as to render the
orderly conduct of such meeting unfeasible and order cannot be restored by the removal of individuals who
are wilfully interrupting the meeting, the members of the legislative body conducting the meeting may
order the meeting room cleared and continue in session. Only matters appearing on the agenda may be
considered in such a session. Representatives of the press or other news media, except those participating in
the disturbance, shall be allowed to attend any session held pursuant to this section. Nothing in this section

shall prohibit the legislative body from establishing a procedure for readmitting an individual or individuals
not responsible for wilfully disturbing the orderly conduct of the meeting.

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54958. Act supercedes conflicting laws
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the legislative body of every local agency notwithstanding the
conflicting provisions of any other state law.

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54959. Violation of Act; Criminal penalty
Each member of a legislative body who attends a meeting of that legislative body where action is taken in
violation of any provision of this chapter, and where the member intends to deprive the public of
information to which the member knows or has reason to know the public is entitled under this chapter, is
guilty of a misdemeanor.

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54960. Violation of Act; Civil remedies
(a) The district attorney or any interested person may commence an action by mandamus, injunction or
declaratory relief for the purpose of stopping or preventing violations or threatened violations of this
chapter by members of the legislative body of a local agency or to determine the applicability of this
chapter to actions or threatened future action of the legislative body, or to determine whether any rule or
action by the legislative body to penalize or otherwise discourage the expression of one or more of its
members is valid or invalid under the laws of this state or of the United States, or to compel the legislative
body to tape record its closed sessions as hereinafter provided.

(b) The court in its discretion may, upon a judgment of a violation of Section 54956.7, 54956.8, 54956.9,
54956.95, 54957, or 54957.6, order the legislative body to tape record its closed sessions and preserve the
tape recordings for the period and under the terms of security and confidentiality the court deems
appropriate.

(c) (1) Each recording so kept shall be immediately labeled with the date of the closed session recorded and
the title of the clerk or other officer who shall be custodian of the recording.

(2) The tapes shall be subject to the following discovery procedures:

(A) In any case in which discovery or disclosure of the tape is sought by either the district attorney or the
plaintiff in a civil action pursuant to Section 54959, 54960, or 54960.1 alleging that a violation of this
chapter has occurred in a closed session which has been recorded pursuant to this section, the party seeking
discovery or disclosure shall file a written notice of motion with the appropriate court with notice to the
governmental agency which has custody and control of the tape recording. The notice shall be given
pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 1005 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(B) The notice shall include, in addition to the items required by Section 1010 of the Code of Civil
Procedure, all of the following:

(i) Identification of the proceeding in which discovery or disclosure is sought, the party seeking discovery
or disclosure, the date and time of the meeting recorded, and the governmental agency which has custody
and control of the recording.

(ii) An affidavit which contains specific facts indicating that a violation of the act occurred in the closed
session.

(3) If the court, following a review of the motion, finds that there is good cause to believe that a violation
has occurred, the court may review, in camera, the recording of that portion of the closed session alleged to
have violated the act.

(4) If, following the in camera review, the court concludes that disclosure of a portion of the recording
would be likely to materially assist in the resolution of the litigation alleging violation of this chapter, the
court shall, in its discretion, make a certified transcript of the portion of the recording a public exhibit in the
proceeding.

(5) Nothing in this section shall permit discovery of communications which are protected by the attorney-
client privilege.

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54960.1. Violation of Act; Actions declared null and void
(a) The district attorney or any interested person may commence an action by mandamus or injunction for
the purpose of obtaining a judicial determination that an action taken by a legislative body of a local agency
in violation of Section 54953, 54954.2, 54954.5, 54954.6, or 54956 is null and void under this section.
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent a legislative body from curing or correcting an action
challenged pursuant to this section.

(b) Prior to any action being commenced pursuant to subdivision (a), the district attorney or interested
person shall make a demand of the legislative body to cure or correct the action alleged to have been taken
in violation of Section 54953, 54954.2, 54954.5, 54954.6, or 54956. The demand shall be in writing and
clearly describe the challenged action of the legislative body and nature of the alleged violation.

(c) (1) The written demand shall be made within 90 days from the date the action was taken unless the
action was taken in an open session but in violation of Section 54954.2, in which case the written demand
shall be made within 30 days from the date the action was taken.

(2) Within 30 days of receipt of the demand, the legislative body shall cure or correct the challenged action
and inform the demanding party in writing of its actions to cure or correct or inform the demanding party in
writing of its decision not to cure or correct the challenged action.

(3) If the legislative body takes no action within the 30-day period, the inaction shall be deemed a decision
not to cure or correct the challenged action, and the 15-day period to commence the action described in
subdivision (a) shall commence to run the day after the 30-day period to cure or correct expires.

(4) Within 15 days of receipt of the written notice of the legislative body’s decision to cure or correct, or not
to cure or correct, or within 15 days of the expiration of the 30-day period to cure or correct, whichever is
earlier, the demanding party shall be required to commence the action pursuant to subdivision (a) or
thereafter be barred from commencing the action.

(d) An action taken that is alleged to have been taken in violation of Section 54953, 54954.2, 54954.5,
54954.6, or 54956 shall not be determined to be null and void if any of the following conditions exist:

(1) The action taken was in substantial compliance with Sections 54953, 54954.2, 54954.5, 54954.6, or
54956.

(2) The action taken was in connection with the sale or issuance of notes, bonds, or other evidences of
indebtedness or any contract, instrument, or agreement thereto.

(3) The action taken gave rise to a contractual obligation, including a contract let by competitive bid other
than compensation for services in the form of salary or fees for professional services, upon which a party
has, in good faith and without notice of a challenge to the validity of the action, detrimentally relied.

(4) The action taken was in connection with the collection of any tax.

(5) Any person, city, city and county, county, district, or any agency or subdivision of the state alleging
noncompliance with subdivision (a) of Section 54954.2, Section 54956, or Section 54956.5, because of any
defect, error, irregularity, or omission in the notice given pursuant to those provisions, had actual notice of
the item of business at least 72 hours prior to the meeting at which the action was taken, if the meeting was
noticed pursuant to Section 54954.2, or 24 hours prior to the meeting at which the action was taken if the
meeting was noticed pursuant to Section 54956, or prior to the meeting at which the action was taken if the
meeting is held pursuant to Section 54956.5.

(e) During any action seeking a judicial determination pursuant to subdivision (a) if the court determines,
pursuant to a showing by the legislative body that an action alleged to have been taken in violation of
Section 54953, 54954.2, 54954.5, 54954.6, or 54956 has been cured or corrected by a subsequent action of
the legislative body, the action filed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be dismissed with prejudice.

(f) The fact that a legislative body takes a subsequent action to cure or correct an action taken pursuant to
this section shall not be construed or admissible as evidence of a violation of this chapter

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54960.5. Costs and attorney fees
A court may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the plaintiff in an action brought pursuant to
Section 54960 or 54960.1 where it is found that a legislative body of the local agency has violated this
chapter. The costs and fees shall be paid by the local agency and shall not become a personal liability of
any public officer or employee of the local agency.

A court may award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to a defendant in any action brought pursuant
to Section 54960 or 54960.1 where the defendant has prevailed in a final determination of such action and
the court finds that the action was clearly frivolous and totally lacking in merit.

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54961. Discrimination; Disabled access; Fees for attendance; Disclosure of victims
(a) No legislative body of a local agency shall conduct any meeting in any facility that prohibits the
admittance of any person, or persons, on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry,
or sex, or which is inaccessible to disabled persons, or where members of the public may not be present
without making a payment or purchase. This section shall apply to every local agency as defined in Section
54951.

(b) No notice, agenda, announcement, or report required under this chapter need identify any victim or
alleged victim of tortious sexual conduct or child abuse unless the identity of the person has been publicly
disclosed.

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54962. Closed session; Express authorization required
Except as expressly authorized by this chapter, or by Sections 1461, 32106, and 32155 of the Health and
Safety Code or Sections 37606 and 37624.3 of the Government Code as they apply to hospitals, or by any
provision of the Education Code pertaining to school districts and community college districts, no closed
session may be held by any legislative body of any local agency.