Commission on Human Rights Meeting
Changes to the Brown Act authorized by Governor Newsom in response to Covid-19
Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-29-20 which supersedes Executive Order N-25-20 as such order relates to the Brown Act (the order can be found here). Executive Order N-29-20 further responds to concerns of public health officials and public agencies that observance of public meeting laws could accelerate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The new Executive Order no longer requires public agencies subject to the Brown Act to have one physical location open for the public to observe and address the meeting. Agencies are now permitted to allow the public to observe and address the meeting telephonically or otherwise electronically.
The following are key provisions of the Executive Order with the substantive changes from the prior order identified in bold below:
- Allows public agencies to hold public meetings via teleconference and to make the meeting accessible electronically or telephonically to all member of the public seeking to attend and address the Board.
- The requirement that each teleconference location be publicly accessible is suspended.
- The requirement to post agendas at all teleconference locations and notice each location where the member is calling in from is suspended.
- The requirement that at least a quorum be present in the boundaries of the jurisdiction is suspended.
- Notice must still be given 72 hours in advance for regular meeting and 24 hours in advance for special meetings.
- Local Agencies may hold meetings via teleconferencing and allow the public to observe and address the meeting telephonically or otherwise electronically. (NOTE: the prior order required at least one physical location be open for the public to observe and address the meeting. A physical location for observing the meeting is no longer required.)
- If meeting is held telephonically or otherwise electronically, agencies must implement a procedure for receiving and swiftly resolving requests for reasonable modification or accommodations from individuals with disabilities, consistent with the ADA. The procedure must be advertised each time notice of the meeting is given.
- Agencies are encouraged to use sound discretion and to make reasonable efforts to adhere to the Brown Act as closely as possible.
Agendas and Materials
Agendas and Materials: Agendas and most supporting materials are available on the Commission’s website.
Due to legal, copyright, privacy or policy considerations, not all materials are posted online.
NOTE: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, materials that are not posted will be available directly from the Commission at email@example.com
If you have a disability which requires an accommodation, an alternative format, or requires another person to assist you while attending this meeting, please contact the Deputy Clerk at (707) 565-2821, as soon as possible to ensure arrangements for accommodation.
Approval of the Consent Calendar
The Consent Calendar includes routine financial and administrative actions that are usually approved by a single majority vote. There will be no discussion on these items prior to voting on the motion unless Commission Members or the public request specific items be discussed and/or removed from the Consent Calendar.
Any member of the audience desiring to address the Commission on a matter on the agenda:
Members of the public are invited to join this meeting via Zoom teleconferencing. In order that all interested parties have an opportunity to speak, please be brief and limit your comments to the subject under discussion. Each person is usually granted 3 minutes to speak; time limitations are at the discretion of the Chair.
While members of the public are welcome to address the Commission, under the Brown Act, Commission members may not deliberate or take action on items not on the agenda, and generally may only listen.
Commitment to Civil Engagement
All are encouraged to engage in respectful dialog that supports freedom of speech and values diversity of opinion. Commissioners, Staff, and the public are encouraged to:
- Create an atmosphere of respect and civility where Commissioners, County Staff, and the Public are free to express their ideas within the time and content parameters established by the Brown Act and CHR’s standard Parliamentary procedures (Robert’s Rules of Order);
- Establish and maintain a cordial and respectful atmosphere during discussions;
- Foster meaningful dialogue free of attacks of a personal nature and/or attacks based on age, (dis)ability, class, education level, gender, gender identity, occupation, race and/or ethnicity, sexual orientation;
- Listen with an open mind to all information, including dissenting points of view, regarding issues presented to the Commission;
- Recognize it is sometimes difficult to speak at meetings, and out of respect for each person's perspective, allow speakers to have their say without comment or body gestures, including booing, whistling or clapping;
Commission on Human Rights
County of Sonoma
Sonoma County Administration Building
575 Administration Drive
United Nations Declaration & Conventions