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CREDIT TO CalWatchdog

NEW: Gov. and Leg leaders retreat on public records act mess

June 21, 2013

By Katy Grimes


SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers have reversed course on the sneaky attempt to reduce access to public records, as mandated by the Public Records Act. The act provides Californians the ability to obtain documents about state and local government actions.

Instead, according to the Los Angeles Times, Legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown are looking at a constitutional amendment that would force local governments to pay for a state mandate that always has been picked up by the state. The result will be even more pressure on local budgets. So much for all of the feel-good political rhetoric about support for local governments.

Here’s what happened. On June 14,  AB 76  was passed by both houses of the Legislature and sent to the governor. It would gut the state Public Records Act at the local level. The last-minute trailer bill language would remove local governments’ current requirements to respond within 10 days to public records act requests, or to assist those requesting documents.

But opposition to the bill was immense from outraged members of the public and the media.

So on June 20, the Assembly passed SB 71, which is the same as AB 76, but with the the language threatening the Records Act removed.


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CalWatchdog is an independent, Sacramento-based journalism venture providing original investigative reports and news stories covering California state government. We’re focused on reporting on the state Capitol, state agencies and on significant government-related stories from across California that are of statewide importance. CalWatchdog is part of a new wave of web-based reporting designed to improve oversight of government. Our goal is to hold the government accountable for its spending and regulatory programs by exposing governmental waste, fraud and abuses of power. As “your eyes on California government,” we are constantly seeking input and news tips from our readers so that we may better ensure the government is working for you. We seek to cover those news stories that other news outlets are not providing. Our stories are published on the CalWatchdog website and distributed to traditional media outlets. CalWatchdog adheres to the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. CalWatchdog is a project of the Journalism Center at the Pacific Research Institute, a non-profit and non-partisan public policy think tank based in San Francisco. PRI is a 501(c)(3) exempt organization.


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CalWatchdog’s mission is to uncover governmental waste and shine the light on the misuse of taxpayer dollars. As part of a new wave of nonprofit, web-based journalism, CalWatchdog adheres to traditional journalistic standards and focuses on improving government transparency.

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