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Watchdog Group Launches Petition to Protect Brown Act

Californians Aware is asking voters to sign a petition that would protect key provisions of the Brown Act, the state's open-government law.

A Sacramento-based organization launched a petition drive Sunday to amend the California constitution to ensure that municipal meeting agendas continue to be offered to the public.

In June, the state Legislature gave California cities and counties the option of not posting meeting agendas and other reports to save money. This action suspended a key provision of the Brown Act, which requires California cities, counties, school boards and special districts to conduct their meetings openly.

On Sunday, Californians Aware launched a petition drive to place a proposition on the statewide ballot.

"Even though the law might not hold public officials accountable for no longer posting agendas or providing adequate descriptions of items on them, angry voters would hold them accountable, and political exposure has always been a far more powerful motivator of Brown Act compliance than legal exposure," stated Californians Aware on its website.

There is also a bill that would preserve the Brown Act provisions, but it remains in limbo in the Assembly Appropriations Committee after the state Senate passed it.

In Altadena, elected bodies that follow the Brown Act include the County Board of Supervisors, Altadena Library District and Pasadena Unified School District. Representatives of the Altadena Library have said in the they intend to continue to follow the rules of the Brown Act regardless of changes in state law.

To read more about the petition, click here.

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