Remote meeting restrictions lifted in CA during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on March 12, 2020

On Thursday, May 12, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an executive order giving our special districts greater flexibility to hold remote meetings during the current crisis. See item 11 of the executive order for details on temporary changes to the Brown Act. 

For special districts who have not hosted online meetings in the past, it may feel overwhelming to consider meeting remotely. Streamline does not provide that sort of technology, but we do use it on a regular basis and would be happy to help in any way we can. If you need to talk through options, feel free to reach out and we'll get back to you as quickly as we can. We're also hosting a conversation about this on Wednesday March 18th - it's part of a 6 week series on marketing for special districts, but you're welcome to sign up and just attend a single episode. 

The California Special Districts Association has developed a resources page that can provide more information, and includes links to pertinent state and federal resources where members can receive the most current information.

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Senate's proposed SB 931 places undue burden on California special districts

Posted on February 28, 2020

California legislators are pushing for additional transparency requirements for local government agencies. Their latest bid, Senate Bill 931, will require our districts to provide a copy of the full agenda packet via mail or email to anyone who requests it.

Sounds like a great idea on the surface, doesn’t it?

Of course, we agree that the public has the right to know what their elected officials are doing when it comes to official district business, but there are numerous problems with this proposed bill. 

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SDLF and Streamline increase website scholarships for California special districts

Posted on February 26, 2020

The Special District Leadership Foundation announced that it will be increasing the amount of their joint SDLF / Streamline scholarship pool for 2020. In the past, districts with annual operating revenues below $500,000 were able to utilize a scholarship to receive 15 months free services on the Streamline Web platform - as long as the district didn't already have a website. This year, the scholarship is also available to districts who have a website that isn't compliant with all of the California posting and formatting requirements (including being accessible to visitors with disabilities).

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Using Chrome Lighthouse to test your site for accessibility

Posted on September 6, 2019

Creating websites that are accessible to visitors with disabilities can be challenging, especially for developers building one-off / standalone sites. Most websites that were built even a year ago are likely not accessible, and many of the content management systems out there aren't accessible out-of-the-box, so to speak. If your website partner wasn't specifically told to build your website in an accessible way, it's likely that your site may have a few issues. Accessible websites aren't easy to build!

If you're wondering if your site is accessible, you can get an idea by using an automated scanner. Automated testing won't surface every possible issue - to catch everything you really need to have testing done by professionals using assistive devices - but it will check the basics (and the most obvious), giving you an overall idea of how you're doing.

So how do you test your site yourself?

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FAQs: Website requirements for California special districts, compliments of SB 929

Posted on May 14, 2019

We get so many questions about the new California special district website requirements going into effect Jan. 2020 that I thought a blog post was in order. Hopefully this helps make sense of the legal requirements on the horizon!

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SB 929 passes: all California special districts must have websites

Posted on September 21, 2018

A bill that requires all independent special districts in California to have a website was signed into law by Governor Brown this month. State Sen. Mike McGuire’s SB 929 – the Special Districts Transparency Act – requires every independent special district in California to create and consistently maintain a website with specific and detailed information including meeting agendas, clear information on the district’s budget and expenditures, compensation reports, information on how to contact representatives of the district, and more.

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Website accessibility standards for local government

Posted on August 31, 2018

There are a few formatting requirements that apply to local government agencies in California: Section 508 (for visitors with disabilities); AB 169 guidelines for anything considered “open data;” and AB 2257, which governs formatting and posting requirements for any agency’s main governing body’s agenda. In this article we’ll touch on the first two; to learn more about AB 2257 and home page agenda posting, check out this related article.

 

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California website requirements -- an overview

Posted on August 31, 2018

Special district websites must comply with federal and state mandates, but how do you keep up with changing requirements? The state doesn’t send you a letter after they’ve passed a new mandate, let alone give you a heads up beforehand. (And, how would you know Section 508 guidelines changed January 2018?)

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The Brown Act and new California agenda posting requirements

Posted on August 31, 2018

The Ralph M. Brown Act is an act of the California State Legislature passed in 1953 that guarantees the public's right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies. It’s been updated multiple times since its original drafting, and now includes a website posting requirement for agendas. While it has always been required to physically post agendas a minimum of 72 hours before upcoming regular meetings, it now requires that those agendas also be posted on the agency’s website, if they have one.

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FAQs on SB 272 Compliance

Posted on January 30, 2016

From the CSDA Webinar on May 25, 2016 and the Streamline webinar June 29, 2016 – by Sloane Dell'Orto

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