Bill Aims to Preserve CA Coffers Amid Full Access

     (CN) – California agencies cannot punt the cost of allowing public access to government documents to the state under an amendment newly passed by two state Senate committees.
     The Senate Governance & Finance Committee passed the legislation, SCA3, with a 7-0 vote, and the Senate Appropriations Committee passed it with a 6-0 vote on June 25. The amendment is now awaiting a Senate floor vote.
     If the Senate passes the amendment with the required two-thirds vote, then it will go on the statewide ballot in June 2014.
     According to the Senate floor bill analysis, the amendment “will end long-standing concerns over how costs for local agency compliance with best practices for open government are distributed between the state and local agencies.”
     If the voters pass the measure, the state will be responsible for its own costs under the open meeting and open records laws, while local agencies will also be responsible for their own costs.
     Without the amendment, the state could remain liable for the costs local agencies such as cities and school districts incur as a result of requests for public documents.
     “Relieving the state from reimbursement for mandated costs related to the CPRA [California Public Records Act] and Brown Act would result in unknown future state General Fund savings, likely in the millions, and potentially in the tens of millions annually,” according to an analysis by Sen. Kevin de Leon, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

%d bloggers like this: