SB 1100 authored by Senator Dave Cortese (D-Silicon Valley) along with principal co-author Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) is moving forward after passing the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.
Sponsored by the California State Association of Counties and the Urban Counties of California, SB 1100 would ensure safe, open, and accessible public meetings by creating a process to restore order when disruptions occur and presents safeguards to ensure implementation consistent with our First Amendment principles.
“SB 1100 would enhance the public’s access to meetings and enhance our democratic process as a whole,” says Senator Cortese. “By establishing common-sense tools to deescalate significant disruptions, we can allow members of a legislative body as well as the public to return to their important governmental business in a swift manner.”
He added: “Troubling incidents across our state, including those involving threats of violence and unsafe conditions, have made it increasingly clear that the mechanisms provided by the Brown Act to deal with extreme disorderly conduct during public meetings are insufficient. Across California, public officials and public attendees continue to deal with these types of interruptions during meetings at such a high magnitude that critical business and the legislative process as a whole has become impaired.”
Last year, as local officials in Silicon Valley including AAPI public officials such as Los Gatos Mayor Marico Sayoc faced targeted bullying and harassment efforts, Senator Cortese and Assemblymember Low expressed their support for establishing mechanisms to de-escalate disruptions during public meetings that significantly interrupt public business.
A letter from the California State Association of Counties and the Urban Counties of California said the following: “To say that these types of behaviors have been disruptive to the normal conduct of county business is an understatement; they are stressful, demoralizing, and in some cases, frightening for their targets.”
“This important change to the Brown Act will help local agencies address an unfortunate, but notable, increase in disruptive behavior, hate speech, intimidation, and threats against local elected officials, staff, and members of the public with opposing views.”