As the State of California prepares to move “Beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” starting on June 15, 2021, questions have arisen regarding whether the Executive Orders Governor Newsom issued during the COVID-19 pandemic will expire on that date as well. The answer from the State is “no,” at least with regard to Executive Order N-29-20, which modified Brown Act requirements regarding holding meetings by teleconference since March 2020.
On June 2, 2021, Governor Newsom’s office issued a letter addressing the impact of the June 15, 2021 reopening on Executive Order N-29-20. In the letter, the Governor’s office specifically states that the provisions of Executive Order N-29-20 “will not terminate on June 15 when the Blueprint is scheduled to terminate.” The letter continues:
While the Governor intends to terminate COVID-19 executive orders at the earliest possible date at which conditions warrant, consistent with the Emergency Services Act, the Governor recognizes the importance of an orderly return to the ordinary conduct of public meetings of state and local agencies and boards. To this end, the Governor’s office will work to provide notice to affected stakeholders in advance of rescission of this provision to provide state and local agencies and boards time necessary to meet statutory and logistical requirements. Until a further order issues, all entities may continue to rely on N-29-20.
Based on this guidance, governing boards will continue to have the option to hold electronic meetings as long as they provide electronic means by which members of the public may observe the meeting and offer public comment. Additional information on Executive Order N-29-20 may be found in DWK’s COVID-19 Advisories from March 17, 2020 and March 18, 2020.
If you have any questions about this issue, please do not hesitate to contact a DWK attorney in our Board Ethics, Transparency and Accountability practice group.