Update: The situation is developing rapidly in Sacramento. In response to widespread opposition, Assembly Speaker John Perez says the legislature will vote on another budget trailer bill that does not gut CPRA. According to the Sacramento Bee, if that passes, Gov. Jerry Brown will have a choice between the two bills. So, keep writing Brown to tell him not to sign the anti-transparency measures.
Californians are on the verge of losing crucial tools for ensuring transparency and accountability in local government, unless Governor Jerry Brown uses his veto pen to strike out the section of the state budget that amends the California Public Records Act (CPRA).
Late on Friday, California lawmakers passed the 2013-2014 state budget. Buried within the budget package was a measure that would make many key requirements for handling public information merely optional for local governments.
For journalists, advocacy groups and members of the public, CPRA serves as the primary tool for wrenching information from the government. But, if the budget package is signed into law, many of the state’s public records safeguards would no longer have the force of law and instead become “best practices.” If a city, county, school board, special ...