IMG_8437The California Judicial Council, governing body of the state's judicial branch, today issued for comment a draft of proposed rules that would for the first time open meetings of its standing committees and other advisory bodies to public attendance.  The Council, whose own meetings are already presumed open, sees today's release as the first of two stages to solicit comments from various "stakeholders," including the press, with a greater than average interest in the operation of the state court system.  Closed sessions would be authorized for significantly more topics than permitted in the Brown Act—the open meeting law for local government bodies—but that is true also of the Bagley-Keene Act, which applies to a wide variety of the state's executive branch regulatory bodies, which have specialized jurisdictions calling for types of confidential discussion not encountered in local government.  The principal task of court-watchers in filing comments is likely to be arguing for far greater precision in narrowing such language as "personnel" discussion as a basis for excluding the public.  Comments for this round are sought by next Wednesday, November 20 at 5 p.m., and may be emailed or submitted online.