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In shift, state Senate to vote on public records bill

June 20, 2013|By Patrick McGreevy

SACRAMENTO -- Breaking a deadlock, leaders of the the state Senate have agreed to act next week on a bill from the Assembly that would restore mandates that local government agencies provide public records to residents on request, officials said Thursday.

The agreement was announced in a joint statement by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles).

“We agree there needs to be both an immediate fix to ensure local entities comply with the California Public Records Act and a long-term solution so the California Public Records Act is not considered a reimbursable mandate,” the statement said.

“Accordingly, the Senate will take up the amended SB 71 passed by the Assembly today that removed changes in the budget regarding the California Public Records Act,” they added.

On Wednesday, Steinberg had threatened to put a hold on the Assembly bill until there was evidence that local agencies were not complying with public requests for records. Instead, he had proposed a constitutional amendment be placed on the June 2014 ballot.

When the Assembly passed the new bill restoring the mandate Thursday, Perez had noted that any constitutional amendment would require approval of his chamber, and he said it was a long-term solution leaving a gap in time where cities might not comply with the open-records act.

Perez is pledging cooperation on the amendment.

“As the Senate advances its proposed constitutional amendment, the Assembly will work with them throughout its process to give voters the chance to make clear that good government shouldn’t come with an extra price tag,” the two officials said.

Gov. Jerry Brown was expected to announce his plans for the bill later Thursday.


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