1st Amendment News

Budget cuts to CPRA in SB 71 grab headlines across state

On Friday we posted a notice on the website and sent out a letter to subscribers urging them to sign an email to Governor Brown to veto the section of the  Budget Bill that weakens the CPRA.

Over the weekend news organizations across the state picked up on the story and headlines ensued:

 

“California public records law ‘eviscerated’ in budget bill, critics charge” was the headline above The San Jose Mercury News story that quoted Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association, who called the CPRA changes, “…the worst assault on the public’s right to know I have seen in my 18 years of doing this.”

But they had been able to speak with Brown’s spokesman on the budget, H.D. Palmer, who described that the CPRA changes in SB 71 came about because “the budget conference committee had adopted a “compromise” solution by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, rather than governor’s original proposal.” He referred questions about the legislation’s effect on public-records access to Leno.

Unfortunately,  none of the Bay Area members of the  Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee that included chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and members Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley returned the reporters’ phone calls in time for publication.

The Merc  also reported that “the bill was authored by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. None of the Bay Area committee members — chairman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and members Jim Beall, D-San Jose; Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley — responded to emails and calls seeking comment late Friday afternoon.

The Los Angeles Times wrote that Proposed budget would weaken California’s public records laws and also Brown spokesman H.D. Palmer, who said that,

“This action does not send a message to local governments to ignore public records [requests],” said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the governor’s Department of Finance. Palmer also pointed to a 2004 constitutional amendment meant to ensure access to government documents, the paper said.

Chris McKenzie, executive director for the League of California Cities, said he expected local governments to continue complying with all aspects of the law, even if they’re not mandatory.

For more on headlines on SB 71 check out these stories:

CBS Sacramento: Bill would all0w cities and counties to delay public records requests 

Capitol Weekly: Trailer Bill Targets public records 

 

Cal Coast News: California Public Record Act threatened by stealth amendments

Click here to find out more and send a letter to Gov Brown on SB 71.

 

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