Savings of California Public Records Act bills aren't worth cost

ModestoJune 25, 2013 


My thanks to Nan Austin for highlighting potential legislation in California SB 71 and AB 76, budget trailer bills that seem to change mandatory compliance with the California Public Records Act (CPRA) with "optional best practices."

A change to the CPRA would have likely produced a savings of millions of dollars because the state would no longer be reimbursing local government agencies for public records request costs.

Thankfully, this alteration will not happen. SB 71 and AB 76 have been eliminated, chiefly due to pressure from public outcry. The service we would have lost for the potential cost savings is a valuable one, the ability to participate in local government by means of accessing public records.

These bills, for me, have brought up a larger issue — transparency in government. Situations like this one as well as the suspense of Kristin Olsen's attempt to have legislative bills in print for 72 hours before being voted upon are concerning. It sends the message that it is acceptable to govern hastily and in secret.

A great leader once used the words "government of the people, by the people, for the people." A well informed citizenry is a critical aspect to a healthy democracy.




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