1st Amendment News

Governor Brown decides fate of open-government bills

The Richard McKee Brown Act enforcement bill wasn’t the only open-government legislation to come before Governor Brown at the end of this legislative session.  Here’s what happened with the bills that FAC has been tracking this year:

AB 1270: Governor Brown vetoed this bill that would have allowed journalists greater ability to request interviews  with prison inmates and allow journalists to use materials such as pens, papers, pencils and recording devices to conduct the interviews. This is the ninth bill providing journalists’ increased access to prisoners that has been passed by the legislature only to be vetoed by the governor. (Actually, four governors).

SB 1002: Bill to require agencies to provide electronic records in an open, searchable format.
Governor Brown vetoed this bill, introduced by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). The bill’s original intent was to require agencies to use standardized and searchable formats for documents released in response to record requests. However, the Assembly Appropriations Committee had converted the bill to authorization for a year-long feasibility study to be conducted by the State Chief Information Officer.

In his veto message, the Governor stated that “the State Chief Information Officer is to make sure that state government uses information technology efficiently and effectively including providing public records electronically when possible. Another legislative report on electronic public records isn’t necessary.”

AB 1723. A bill to require live video transmissions of the meetings of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the Trustees of the California State University and the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

Governor Brown approved the measure, which goes into effect January 1. It requires the post-secondary boards to archive and post the video and audio transmissions on the entities’ Internet Web sites for at least 12 months and within 48 hours following initial transmission.
SB 1001  A bill by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) to pay for improvements to a website, run by the Secretary of State, tracking lobbying and campaign finance activity. Governor Brown signed the bill, which requires campaign committees to pay a $50 annual registration fee on and increases by $25 the amount lobbyists must pay when they register with the state.

The bill is expected to generate $600,000, which will go toward improving the Cal-Access system.

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