Extremely sneakily the California legislature adopted twin Bills: California Senate Bill 71 and AB 76 which allegedly were about the State Budget. But unknown to the public and the media contain a secret poison pill to gut the law requiring cities to turn over public records.
The Los Angeles Times editorialized:
“It sometimes seems like there is a raging epidemic of government contempt for public access.”
Monterey’s Senator Bill Monning voted for gutting our Public records access ! His office phone number is 649-2832 so you can call and let him know what you think about this.
Update June 21, 2013: Success: Due to media and public outrage – Governor Brown decided not to sign the bill and the legislature agreed to rescind it. “Legislators, Brown backpedal on public records bill (LA Times)“
Here’s the Bill’s key language:
“(3) Existing law, the California Public Records Act (CPRA), requires state and local agencies to make public records available upon receipt of a request that reasonably describes an identifiable record not otherwise exempt from disclosure, upon the payment of fees to cover costs.
“This bill would, commencing on the effective date of this bill, make compliance with certain provisions of the CPRA, which among other things relate to the delivery of electronic data, optional for local agencies. The bill would encourage local agencies to follow these provisions as “best practices” and would require a local agency that determines that it will not follow these best practices to so announce orally at its next regularly scheduled public meeting and annually thereafter. By requiring this announcement, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
“Existing constitutional provisions require that a statute that limits the right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest. This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
This outrageous anti-democracy legislation was adopted without any debate or discussion on this landmark change that blocks the public from understanding what local governments are doing. It makes providing public records optional !
Here’s CalAware’s Terry Francke’s thoughts on this act —
“Plan B: Saving the CPRA from Repeated Sabotage”