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Assembly comes around on Public Records Act. Senate next?

June 19, 2013|By Robert Greene
  • California Assembly Speaker John Perez speaks before the Sacramento Press Club in May.
California Assembly Speaker John Perez speaks before the Sacramento Press… (Associated Press / Rich…)

The Assembly was not on board when Gov. Jerry Brown proposed, in his budget, to roll back laws that require local government officials to make it easier for members of the public to get their hands on public records. Not at first, anyway; the rollback was kept in the budget bill, and the Assembly adopted it, as did the state Senate.

News organizations (including this one) and open government advocates -- and citizens in general -- pitched a very appropriate fit.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has made it clear that he heard the message and now plans to go back to the position the Assembly adopted in the first place: Keep the Public Records Act intact.

As adopted, the budget would have made it optional for cities, counties, school districts and other local government agencies to help requesters frame their requests; provide electronic records in a format specified by the requester; and respond within 10 days as to what information will be released. Agencies wouldn't even have to provide any written response to the requester at all.

Not cool, said Pérez, essentially, on reflection.

The amendment to the relevant budget trailer bill, SB 71, goes before the Assembly for adoption Thursday morning. The Senate should now follow suit.

Here's The Times' Wednesday editorial expressing its unhappiness; and a follow-up Opinion L.A. post.

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