Breaking News: Virtual Meetings Are Now A RealitySep 25, 2023
Governor Signs Assembly Bill 648 (Valencia/Lowenthal) - Meetings solely by Teleconference
By Matt D. Ober, Esq., CCAL
California law has finally caught up with technology with the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 648, which takes effect on January 1, 2024.
AB 648 amends Civil Code Section 4090 (board meeting defined) and adds Civil Code Section 4926 to allow a community association to conduct a board or membership meeting solely by video or teleconference, without a physical location, provided the association meets specified safeguards.
The current definition of teleconference, for purposes of satisfying the “Open Meeting Act,” requires an association to identify a physical location so that members may attend in person, and requires at least one director or designated person to be present at that physical location.
AB 648 amends Civil Code Section 4090 by carving out an exception to the physical location and physical presence requirements, provided the Association meets the following requirements set forth in the new Civil Code Section 4926:
- The meeting notice must include:
a. Clear technical instructions on how to participate by teleconference.
b. The telephone number and electronic mail address of a person who can provide technical assistance with the teleconference process, both before and during the meeting.
c. A reminder that a member may request individual delivery of meeting notices, with instructions on how to do so.
- Every director and member must have the same ability to participate in the meeting as if the meeting were held in a physical location.
- Any vote of the directors must be conducted by roll call vote.
- Any person entitled to participate in the meeting shall be given the option of participating by telephone.
Note, however, that an association or board meeting cannot be held solely by video or teleconference if ballots are to be counted and tabulated pursuant to Civil Code Section 5120 (secret balloting procedure).
Although in-person meetings play an important role in community building, the virtual meeting has opened up opportunities for many homeowners to attend meetings and participate that otherwise were unable to. Additionally, virtual meetings tend to be more productive and efficient, allow more owners to engage in how their community is governed, and tend to allow boards and management to maintain order and keep things civil while proceeding through an agenda more smoothly. Associations community managers are sure to benefit from this legislation by way of meeting efficiency, time management, board meeting safety and cost savings.
Association boards and community managers should consider adding the above technical requirements of Civil Code 4926 to their standard meeting notice forms so that the option of conducting a meeting virtually is always available.
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