(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, the state body shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the state body on each agenda item before or during the state body’s discussion or consideration of the item. This section is not applicable if the agenda item has already been considered by a committee composed exclusively of members of the state body at a public meeting where interested members of the public were afforded the opportunity to address the committee on the item, before or during the committee’s consideration of the item, unless the item has been substantially changed since the committee heard the item, as determined by the state body. Every notice for a special meeting at which action is proposed to be taken on an item shall provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the state body concerning that item prior to action on the item. In addition, the notice requirement of Section 11125 shall not preclude the acceptance of testimony at meetings, other than emergency meetings, from members of the public if no action is taken by the state body at the same meeting on matters brought before the body by members of the public.
(b) The state body may adopt reasonable regulations to ensure that the intent of subdivision (a) is carried out, including, but not limited to, regulations limiting the total amount of time allocated for public comment on particular issues and for each individual speaker.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), when a state body limits time for public comment the state body shall provide at least twice the allotted time to a member of the public who utilizes a translator to ensure that non-English speakers receive the same opportunity to directly address the state body.
(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply if the state body utilizes simultaneous translation equipment in a manner that allows the state body to hear the translated public testimony simultaneously.
(d) The state body shall not prohibit public criticism of the policies, programs, or services of the state body, or of the acts or omissions of the state body. Nothing in this subdivision shall confer any privilege or protection for expression beyond that otherwise provided by law.
(e) This section is not applicable to closed sessions held pursuant to Section 11126.
(f) This section is not applicable to decisions regarding proceedings held pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500), relating to administrative adjudication, or to the conduct of those proceedings.
(g) This section is not applicable to hearings conducted by the California Victim Compensation Board pursuant to Sections 13963 and 13963.1.
(h) This section is not applicable to agenda items that involve decisions of the Public Utilities Commission regarding adjudicatory hearings held pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 1701) of Part 1 of Division 1 of the Public Utilities Code. For all other agenda items, the commission shall provide members of the public, other than those who have already participated in the proceedings underlying the agenda item, an opportunity to directly address the commission before or during the commission’s consideration of the item.
(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 31, Sec. 71. (SB 836) Effective June 27, 2016.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018