Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Who voted for this?

Who will cop to sneaking this shit into the budget bill?

Transparency in California Should Not Be Optional - eff

AB 76 was passed by the legislature Friday evening, unbeknownst to many journalists and open-government advocates attempting to follow the vote....

Senate Bill 71 and AB 76, which could be passed and sent to the governor's offiice on Saturday, would allow government bodies on the local level—such as cities, counties, sheriff’s departments and education systems—to choose whether or not to follow certain requirements under the California Public Records Act. These provisions would be downgraded from law to mere “best practices.” Gone would be the deadlines for determining whether records are disclosable and notifying the member of the public who requested the records. Gone would be the requirement that agencies assist members of the public in identifying which records would answer their questions. Gone would be the mandate that agencies turn over documents in an electronic format if the records have already been digitized.

A local government wouldn’t even have to publicly disclose its records-disclosure policy in writing. The bills only say an agency must “announce orally” once a year if it decides not to follow the new “best practices.”

The impact on government watchdogs, journalists and the public—including EFF—would be profound. The legislation would create long waits for access to records, allow agencies to interpret requests narrowly (say, rejecting requests unless the citizen asks for a specific document), and leave the requesters waiting in limbo indefinitely as government agencies will have no incentive to be helpful.

California Legislature Guts State Records Law - courthousenews.com

"It's not about saving money - it's all about curtailing an open, transparent government that can be held accountable," Yee told the San Jose Mercury News. "The only way we're held accountable is when the public has the information to understand what were doing."

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