Too Much Sun? Emerging Challenges Presented by California & Federal Open Meeting Legislation to Public Policy Consensus-Building Processes
Abstract. Public policy consensus-building processes, which have been heralded as forums for genuine citizen involvement in government decision making, are increasingly subject to state and federal open meeting laws. While both open meeting laws and consensus-building processes were developed with the laudable intent of enhancing the legitimacy of government, it has been alleged that open meeting laws pose significant challenges for consensus building bodies. Through a case study that looks at the impacts of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and California’s Brown and Bagley-Keene Acts on consensus-building processes managed by the Center for Collaborative Policy, this report describes the procedural, deliberative, and fiscal challenges that open meeting laws present to consensus-building processes, and discusses the potential geneses of these challenges. Recommendations are offered for addressing these challenges through education, legislative reform, and further research.