Thursday, June 27, 2013

Battle Over CA's Public Records Act Was Actually a Budget Deal

Some of you may have gotten whiplash following the latest kerfuffle over California's Public Records Act (CPRA).
First, as part of the budget deal it looked like there would be limited access to government documents. Why? Because the deal provided that the CPRA would be suspended, instead of paid for from state coffers. Specifically, the state is required to reimburse local agencies for the cost of compliance. The anticipated cost of the CPRA totals in the tens of millions of dollars.
Under the budget plan, local agencies would have the ability to opt out of certain portions of the law, those requiring local agencies to help people trying to access information, provide respond to record requests within 10 days, and furnish people with electronic records when they are obtainable.
Then, predictably, there was a significant backlash. And then, equally predictably, legislators reacted. At the end of last week two State Senators introduced a constitutional amendment purportedly intended to strengthen the CPRA. State President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D - Sacramento) and State Senator Mark Leno (D - San Francisco) introduced an amendment, which would require that local agencies comply with and pay the costs of complying with the CPRA.

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