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The Judicial Council of California announced changes this week that will make the Council more open and accessible to the public.
Court of Appeal Justice Douglas Miller, the newly-appointed chair of the council's Executive and Planning Committee, explained that the changes were adopted in response to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye's request that the council take a "fresh and thorough look at every aspect of how the council operates and governs." As a result, several new procedures have been established.
"Beginning August 26, 2011, the council's business meetings will now start with an expanded public comment period. In addition, anyone wishing to comment on a matter related to judicial administration can speak directly to the council and comments will be welcome at the time the specific agenda item is presented," Justice Miller stated.
In the past, public comments were made only at the beginning of council meetings and limited to items for council decision on that agenda.
Another important change is that the Judicial Council's educational meetings, also known as "issues" meetings, will now be open to the public as a way of improving communication between the courts and the public. The Judicial Council's next issues meeting on Thursday, August 25, 2011, will feature presiding judges and court executives discussing how to manage courts in times of declining resources.
The Judicial Council of California meets six to eight times per year; all of its business meetings are public and audiocast live on the California Courts website. Business meeting agendas and reports also are posted on the public website about one week in advance.