The California Assembly has passed a measure that would revoke changes to the state’s public records act that are in the budget package lawmakers sent to Governor Jerry Brown. The move comes after an outcry from the media about a provision that would make complying with parts of the act optional.
Assembly members defended their involvement in the controversy. Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley) says through six months of hearings there was no opposition to the provision. “Then in Conference committee, the same thing. There was not a peep out of the press. There was not a peep out of the public. But the Assembly was still holding fast,” Blumenfield says.
In fact, at least one newspaper did write about the issue last winter. The Assembly ultimately voted for a compromise on the provision.
Senate leaders say they will take up the Assembly bill while also working on a Constitutional Amendment regarding the issue. Governor Jerry Brown supports the Amendment, which would require local governments to cover the costs of complying with the records act. His office later said he also supports the Assembly bill.
"We support the legislative leaders' approach, which will eliminate uncertainty about local compliance with the law and, on a permanent basis, ensure that local government pays for what has long been its explicit responsibility," says Brown press secretary Evan Westrup.