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California transparency legislation

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Transparency legislation proposed in California.

2009

See also: California Public Records Act
  • Senate Bill 106[1] seeks to add school districts, community college districts, and county boards of education to the definition of a local agency whose officials must receive ethics training on subjects such as open records laws. The bill was introduced on March 4, 2009 and remains in the Senate as of April 2009.[2]
  • Senate Bill 218[1] seeks to make the records of non-profit organizations associated with state agencies and universities subject to the Open Records law. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), who stated that "Taxpayers and students deserve to know how their public universities are run."[3] The bill was amended and sent back to the Senate's Judiciary Committee on April 27, 2009.[4]
  • Senate Bill 502[1] would require state agencies and departments to develop a searchable web site relating to the expenditures of state funds. The bill was referred to the Senate's Governmental Organization Committee in March of 2009.[5]
  • Senate Bill 719[1] would require state agencies and departments to develop and maintain a searchable web site that includes information relating to expenditures of state funds including contract grants, purchase orders, subcontracts, tax refunds, rebates and credits. The bill was referred to the Senate's Appropriations Committee in April of 2009.[6]
  • Assembly Bill 400 sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin de Leon would require public disclosure of state spending by all departments.[1]It was referred to the Committee on Appropriations in April of 2009.[7]
  • Assembly Bill 520[8] would allow superior courts to issue protective orders limiting the number and scope of requests a person can make under the California Public Records Act if the court determines that the requester is seeking the records for an 'improper purpose' (including, but not limited to, harassing employees of state agencies).

The bill has received wide criticism, particularly for failing to define the term 'improper' with any specificity.[9] The California Newspapers Publishers Association wrote a letter to Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter expressing their opposition to the bill and stating their position that "public access decisions must be made based on the law's presumption of access" and that "agencies must never be allowed to determine whether or not to comply with a request based on whether the request is for a use approved by the agency (i.e., a good use)."[10]

  • Assembly Bill 1194[1] would also require state agencies and departments to develop and maintain a searchable web site that includes information relating to expenditures of state funds. The bill was referred to the Business and Professions Committee in April of 2009.[11]

References