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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lawmakers Respond To Criticism Over Records Act; Guv Says Put It To A Vote

Just as Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators in Sacramento continue to take heat from proponents of open government who howled the state's recently approved budget would "gut" the state's Public Records Act, there appears to be movement in the Legislature.

State Sen. Mark Leno, according to the Sacramento Bee, will introduce a constitutional amendment Thursday that requires local governments and public agencies to comply with the act, but on their own dime.

"The amendment will clarify that this controversy was never about weakening the Public Records Act," said State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. "It instead is about whether state taxpayers pay the bill for what cities and counties should be doing on their own," reported the Bee on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Brown also told the same newspaper he would support placing on the ballot the issue of whether the state or municipalities should foot the bill that comes with furnishing reporters and concerned citizens with its government's records.

The state Assembly also has plans for its own legislation on the issue. Nevertheless, local leaders will invariably see this tussle as yet another instance of Sacramento infringing on their local control following years of take-backs and tax realignment last year. Council members and mayors in all Alameda County cities level this charge on a monthly basis and will likely continue to do so.

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