Remote meeting rule changes will have minor effect on public

by Steven Felschundneff |

On Tuesday the Claremont City Council ended the local COVID-19 state of emergency, resulting in changes to the rules for participating in city meetings remotely, but the public’s ability to listen and comment during meetings via Zoom will remain largely unchanged.

During the pandemic, the state suspended rules governing how elected and appointed public figures could establish a quorum, allowing meetings to be conducted entirely online. When in-person meetings returned in Claremont last year, council members and commissioners could still, on occasion, participate remotely. However, now that California’s state of emergency has officially ended the governor has signed a bill updating the Brown Act’s quorum rules.

Under Assembly Bill 2449, which reestablishes and amends the Brown Act’s teleconferencing rules, a quorum must be established in person if a member of a legislative body wants to participate remotely. That person must establish “just cause” or have “emergency circumstances” to participate online. A two way audiovisual platform or telephonic service must be provided as well as a live webcast, according to a staff report. Beginning March 1, all city meetings were governed by these new rules.

The one change coming for residents watching a meeting at home is in-person meetings will continue even if the Zoom connection is lost. Meetings will only be paused if a member of the legislative body is attending remotely.


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