Brown Act Modifications in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak

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Gov. Gavin Newsom waived certain provisions of the Bagley-Keene Act and Ralph M. Brown Act.

March 30, 2020
Gregory J. Rolen - Haight Brown & Bonesteel

Gov. Gavin Newsom waived certain provisions of the Bagley-Keene Act and Ralph M. Brown Act to make state and local legislative bodies safer while allowing California public entities to conduct business.

In an effort to promote social distancing and slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic Gov. Newsom issued Executive Order N-25-20. The Executive Order authorizes state and local legislative bodies, such as school district and county office of education governing boards, to more easily hold public meetings by way of teleconference. The order took further steps to make public meetings accessible to the public via electronic means, including telephone.

The Brown Act generally requires legislative body members, a clerk, or other personnel to be physically present in a meeting in order to participate or establish a quorum. Executive Order N-25-20 temporarily eliminates this requirement. Furthermore, standard Brown Act requirements such as publicly noticing the teleconference location for each meeting participant is also suspended. Clearly, this is an attempt to protect the public, as well as Board members and staff, by temporarily discouraging large group settings in the conduct of the public’s business.

Mr. Rolen may be contacted at


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