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Asm. Pacheco Commits Herself to Inclusivity and Accessibility: A Statement on AB 817

For immediate release:
press release header with a photo of assemblymember pacheco

"While I am disappointed that AB 817 did not advance in the Senate Local Government Committee today, I stand behind the objective of this legislation. The bill was crafted to create parity with the rules governing state advisory bodies, and to ensure that local advisory body positions are accessible the public in an effort to foster increased participation and inclusivity.

Contrary to misinformation presented in today’s LA Times editorial, AB 817 was not a reintroduction, but a two-year bill that supporters and I have been working on for an extended period. This bill reflects my commitment to enhancing equity in civic engagement.

I recognize that some people may argue that in-person participation is the best way to ensure that every voice is heard. However, AB 817 aims to provide access for people who may face a host of barriers to in-person attendance, particularly individuals with physical or economic limitations, including older adults and people with disabilities, and people who cannot accommodate the time or distance to engage in person. The bill sought to increase participation options and expand the democratic process to be more inclusive and equitable.

Additionally, during the committee discussion, incorrect statements suggested that subsidiary bodies might include those in which the main subject matter jurisdiction is police oversight or budgets. I accepted amendments explicitly stating that such subsidiary bodies may not include entities in which the main subject matter is police oversight, elections, budgets, or actions that remove materials or restrict public access from legislative body facilities.

With leadership comes the responsibility to lead, and that means standing strong when change is needed. I am committed to leading the way to a more inclusive future. Today, that meant standing with those left behind by our current system to provide a platform of change for the unheard voices in our communities. I remain dedicated to advocating for policies that promote accessibility and look forward to creating a workable solution next legislative session."