Law will require state university student governments to be more open

CALIFORNIA — The governor of California approved abill this month outlining more specific open-meetings guidelinesfor student government bodies in the California State Universitysystem.

Gov. Gray Davis signed AB1857 on Sept. 6. The law, sponsored by Assemblywoman GloriaRomero, D-Los Angeles, will require student government bodiesto post agendas of regular meetings at least 72 hours in advance,open their meetings to the public and allow audience members toaddress the body.

The bodies are only permitted to convene in closed sessionsto discuss property negotiations, pending litigation and personnelissues. The actions taken in closed sessions and the outcome ofany votes must be made public, however.

"With a clearer agenda out there, it gives the publicmore knowledge as well as a sense of disclosure and accountability,"said Dennis Hall, legislative director for Romero.

Hall added that the closed-meeting provision gives studentgovernment bodies flexibility to meet under circumstances thatrequire immediate attention without breaking any open-meetingslaws.