A bill signed by Governor Brown requires local government bodies to link their meeting agendas to their websites’ home pages.

AB 2257 by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, signed by Governor Jerry Brown last Thursday, will beginning in January 2019 require local government councils, boards and commissions that have websites to post their meeting agendas on their primary site homepage, accessible through a prominent, direct link.

A local body would be exempt from this requirement if it has an “integrated agenda management platform, namely one the publishes and archives all information about a specific meeting agenda,” provided that the most current agenda is the first available. See, for example, the agendas of the Sacramento City Council.

Agendas posted to meet these requirements will be required to be:

  • “retrievable, downloadable, indexable, and electronically searchable by commonly used Internet search applications;
  • “platform independent and machine readable; and
  • “available to the public free of charge and without any restriction that would impede the reuse or redistribution of the agenda.”

Author Maienschein stated his rationale for the requirements thus:

This legislation addresses two key deficiencies in current law; format and accessibility of online postings. Posting an agenda can mean many different things with respect to visibility and accessibility of the document. Many agendas are buried in agency websites or otherwise not intuitively navigable by a site visitor.

Formatting may restrict the capacity for citizens to search for or access agenda information . . . AB 2257 will update the Ralph M. Brown Act by ensuring that meeting agendas are posted in a consistent, visible location on the homepage of the local agency’s internet website. It specifies that it must be a prominent, direct link to the agenda and prevents the link being buried. Importantly, this bill also specifies that agendas be posted in a machine-readable format, meaning the documents can be indexed and searched by commonly used search engines and other tools.