One of the items facing cuts in the Governor’s proposed budget is funding for the Brown Act mandate. Currently, the state reimburses local governments for the costs associated with ensuring openness in governance.

However, the $20 million annual appropriation is on the list to be eliminated. Un-funding the mandate could render it inactive.

But even if the funds are cut, at least one city is going to continue to adhere to its requirements. Redlands will still post its agendas and ensure its residents stay well informed of the council’s business.

Perhaps they have the “who cares” approach to the money. While the state has set aside the money each year, they haven’t necessarily paid it out. In fact, they currently owe more than $42 million to the cities for Brown Act reimbursements dating back to 2004.

From the Redlands Daily Facts:

The city of Redlands will continue to follow the government transparency provisions of the Brown Act regardless of whether the state reimburses it for doing so.

Traditionally, cities have been reimbursed by the state for the costs associated with adhering to the Ralph M. Brown Act, which the California Legislature enacted in 1953 to ensure that government meetings and actions are made public.

In subsequent years, the act was modified to include the “Open Meetings Act” mandate, which requires local agencies to prepare and post agendas for public meetings, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. Later, the “Brown Act Reform” mandate was added requiring matters discussed in closed session and decisions made there be reported.

Local governments may receive reimbursement for the cost of preparing agendas, posting and printing agendas, closed-session meeting disclosures and training on the act, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Read the full article here.