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Consumer Advocates Want Better Open Meeting Rules For California Regulators

Consumer advocates said current rules don't protect the public's access to meeting held by the California Public Utilities Commission.

A San Diego consumer advocate is pushing state lawmakers to make utility regulators follow the same open meeting laws other government agencies live with.

Attorney Maria Severson said the California Public Utility Commission lives outside the rules that protect access to meetings concerning the public.

The CPUC isn't covered the the Bagley Keene Open Meeting Act like all other state agencies and commissions. That law lets people go to Superior Court to challenge a meeting that may be closed illegally. People challenging the CPUC have to take the issue to an appellate court.

A challenge filed over a CPUC meeting in March was only resolved this week, months after the meeting was held.

"That's what the California constitution requires. That's what the laws on our books allow members of the public to enforce," Severson said. "And by this decision and how it played out here, it shows that there's no where to enforce it."

Severson wants state lawmakers to change the state constitution so the CPUC is subject to the same rules as other state agencies and commissions.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins has been contacted, according to Severson, and turned the issue over to a policy group.

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