As of today, acts or omissions that citizens suspect to be violations of the open meeting law for local government bodies—and in any event want halted—can be challenged by a cease and desist letter to the body. If that demand is not satisfied by a public commitment to abandon the practice, the challenger can proceed directly to court for a judicial order to do so. Until last year’s passage of SB 1003, which created the new remedy, courts were free to determine that they would not decide the lawfulness of a single past practice unless it involved allegedly illegal action taken or unless there were clear evidence that it would be repeated. SB 1003 ends that state of affairs and allows a declaratory judgment action—and potentially an injunction—for a single past action as much as 90 days old that the local body fails to disavow. SB 1003 was co-sponsored by Californians Aware and the California Newspaper Publisher Association. Complete details here.
About The Editor
Terry Francke has a 39-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.
October 22, 2013
November 21, 2013
September 4, 2012
Help our cause
Help Our Cause
- Government creating roadblocks due to pandemic
- Calaware Mourns the Death of Founding Member, Tim Crews
- Your response enabled our book updating; here’s a token of gratitude for the rest
- Open Letter: Updating our guidebooks, training students to protect democracy
- Fighting the legal ploy that leaves transparency postponed, costly
SOS to All Attorneys
CalAware Members can use our Solicitation of Service (SOS) form to describe their legal problem and request an attorney’s response regarding representation or other services, and have that request sent in an individual email to every attorney in the Directory, setting a deadline for response.