Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Good Sacramento Bee Coverage (Article) on Governor Jerry Brown vs Public Records Information Act (He looks like a theif, trying to turn off the security cameras, before a robbery!)

Legislature creates confusion over records bill

Published: Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 - 4:24 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jun. 19, 2013 - 6:19 pm
The Legislature's Democratic leaders on Wednesday pledged to address a budget bill that threatens public access to information held by local governments, but to do so in different ways.
The attempts to backtrack on the bill occurred late in the day Wednesday and in chaotic fashion as the Legislature was facing intense public criticism over the measure. The leaders of the Assembly and Senate were at odds about what to do, leading to confusion and leaving the bill's fate uncertain.
Assembly Speaker John Perez said his house would meet Thursday and pass another bill that will maintain a requirement for cities and counties to comply with the California Public Records Act.
But Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg followed that announcement by saying he planned a different solution. He wants to pass the Assembly's bill only if there is evidence in the future that a city or county is not complying.

Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, criticized the majority party for reversing course on government transparency and rejecting requests from GOP lawmakers to place budget and budget-related bills in print for public input a minimum of 72 hours before a vote.

"Republicans have serious concerns about 'trust us' being a governing philosophy, particularly when the Democratic supermajority uses its power to do things such as suspending the rules just to avoid having budget bills heard in the budget committee," Huff said in a statement.

The Democratic leaders were reacting after a wave of media editorials called on Brown to veto the bill, which the Legislature passed last week as part of the budget package.
The San Francisco Chronicle said in an editorial Wednesday that the reason given for eliminating the mandate was financial but that state officials could not even say how much the local governments' compliance costs the state.
"So the Legislature and the governor are willing to effectively suspend the state's sunshine laws - which are crucial for the public to know about the government's business - just to save some amount of money that it doesn't even know about. Shameful," the Chronicle editorial board wrote.
The Sacramento Bee wrote in its editorial Wednesday that the Brown administration "is shaping up to be the worst in recent memory for transparent government."
Current law requires government agencies to respond within 10 days and cite reasons if officials need more time to gather the public documents requested or reject the request. But AB76, the bill before Brown, makes it optional for local governments to comply with deadlines and other rules when they receive requests for public records.
By making it optional rather than mandatory, the state would not have to reimburse local governments for the cost, saving the general fund millions of dollars.
The Assembly plan offered Wednesday by Perez is to amend SB71, a companion to the bill already sent to the governor. That version will be identical except that it strips two sections making it optional for local governments to comply with public records requests. Perez's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the Steinberg proposal.
"I think we're a little disappointed that the Senate chose to not put it up for a vote but we are encouraged and we think it's a good thing that the Senate is going to put forth a constitutional amendment because that is going to be the fix to this problem," said Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

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ZUMA DOGG ANALYSIS: John Perez plans on running vs incumbent Governor Jerry Brown; this is the first "throw Brown under the bus," PR move -- and Perez will CRUSH Brown in Governor race; and don't even JOKE about #Villaraiogsa running. (Even if he does=WHO CARES. Life moves on.)

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