Governor signs bill to make California State University student governments more open

CALIFORNIA — The governor of California approved a bill in Septemberthat creates more specific open-meetings guidelines for student governmentbodies in the California State University System. Gov. Gray Davis signed AB 1857 on Sept. 6. Cal. Educ. Code §89305(2000). The law, sponsored by Assemblywoman Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, willrequire student government bodies at CSU schools to post agendas of regularmeetings at least 72 hours in advance, open their meetings to the publicand allow audience members to address the body. The bodies are only permitted to convene in closed sessions to discussproperty negotiations, pending litigation and personnel issues. The actions taken in closed sessions and the outcomes of any votesmust be made public, however.

“With a clearer agenda out there, it gives the public more knowledgeas well as a sense of disclosure and accountability,” said Dennis Hall,legislative director for Romero. Hall added that the closed session provision gives student governmentbodies flexibility to meet under circumstances that require immediate attentionwithout breaking any open-meetings guidelines.