Gov. signs bills affecting public agency website use

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The 2015-16 legislative session ended on Aug. 31, and now Gov. Jerry Brown has begun to sign and veto some of the many bills passed in the last month.

Last week, he signed two bills that affect public agencies.

Assembly Bill 2257, which Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego) sponsored, will require the legislative bodies of public agencies (city, county, special districts and school districts) that have a website to prominently post their agendas online. The vote approving this bill was 79-0.

AB 2257 amends the Ralph M. Brown Act and requires the agencies to post the agenda in a consistent and visible location. The bill also requires that the posted agenda be in a machine-readable format, which will allow it to be indexed and searched via common search engines such as Google.

The effective date of this law is Jan. 1, 2019.

The second bill, AB 2853, amends the California Public Records Act. If an individual requests information from the agency that is already posted on its website, the new law allows the agency to refer the requestor to the site.

However, if the individual does not have access to the website or is unable to print the document, a physical copy must then be supplied.

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