Governor Newsom Signs Mullin Bill Modernizing Brown Act

Saturday, September 19, 2020

AB 992 allows for social media engagement within existing parameters

Sacramento – AB 992, a bill that modernizes the Brown Act as it relates to social media has been signed by Governor Newsom.

“When the Brown Act was first enacted in 1953, the significant evolution of communication and advent of social media was not on anyone’s radar,” Speaker pro Tem Mullin stated. “When local officials approached me asking for legislation that might clarify how they could better interact with constituents without being in violation of existing policy, I was happy to pursue a solution with AB 992.”

AB 992 simply clarifies that members of a local elected body may engage on social media platforms provided they do not do so in a way that violates the Brown Act. In other words, a majority of members cannot use social media to discuss business of a specific nature among themselves or business that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of that respective legislative body. The bill does not encourage or allow local officials to deliberate without notice on social media, but instead provides structure and clarity to interactions that are most likely already happening online.

“Civic engagement is a core principal of democracy,” Mullin noted. “We have evolved from the times when a constituent could only access their local officials by appointment, by attending a Council meeting, or by chance meeting them out and about in the community. To exclude social media participation in the 21st century, does a disservice to the public and undermines transparency.  AB 992 helps give citizens nearly full access to their elected officials.”