New Open Meeting Laws Guide Available on Amazon

OpenMeetings1cThe second edition of CalAware's comprehensive guide to all California law on access to government meetings is on sale now from Amazon.com.

Updated completely since the original 2005 edition, The CalAware Guide to Open Meetings in California focuses on the Ralph M. Brown Act (local government councils, boards and commissions), with parallel coverage of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (state government councils, boards and commissions) as well as special rules for meetings of the state legislature, the California Judicial Council, the Commissions on Judicial Appointments and Judicial Performance, the University of California Board of Regents, the Board of Trustees of the State Bar, student government bodies at California State University campuses, local school site parent advisory committees, homeowners association governing boards, and locally adopted sunshine ordinances.

The 305-page guide analyzes each statutory provision as well as its interpretive case law and attorney general's opinions-current through September 2015—and includes the full text of each statute and court rule. Issues addressed for the Brown and Bagley-Keene Acts include the definition of key terms, the requirements for meetings, the rights of the public, exceptions from the open meeting requirement, dealing with violations without going to court, and legal remedies and litigation strategy, including sample letters to challenge violations of these open meeting laws. Also examined is the constitutional open government mandate added by Proposition 59 of 2004.

The comprehensively indexed guide is written by Terry Francke, general counsel for the nonprofit public interest organization Californians Aware, with more than 36 years' experience helping journalists, citizen watchdogs, attorneys and even government officials and employees understand the open government laws. Francke is also author of the other CalAware Guides on Journalism Law in California and Public Records and Private Information in California.

Terry Francke has a 35-year history of helping journalists, citizens and public officials understand and use their First Amendment and open government rights. With CalAware, Francke has authored comprehensive and authoritative guidebooks to California law on access to government meetings and public records and the news gathering and publication rights of journalists. Focusing on these issues in public forum law, he supervises CalAware's legislative and litigation initiatives; conducts workshops on legal compliance; helps design public records audits; supports local sunshine ordinance drafting efforts; writes CalAware Today, a blog on current developments and proposals in the law and best practices; and answers countless queries by phone and e-mail from citizens, journalists, public officials and employees, and lawyers.

Francke previously served 14 years as executive director and general counsel to the California First Amendment Coalition, after a 10-year post as legal counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association. He has served as an advisory panel member to the National Center on Courts and the Media; taught journalism law at the Department of Communication at Stanford University; and served as an expert contributor to the 1994 major revisions to the Ralph M. Brown Act and the 2004 ballot proposition making open government a basic right of citizens under the California Constitution.

Francke is a 1967 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1979 graduate of McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. Prior to his legal career, Francke worked as a weekly newspaper editor and in military and local government public affairs positions.

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