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OPINION: News, media leaders against weakening Public Records Act

June 19th, 2013 | by Daniel Simon | Comments

Jerry Brown Introduces January California Budget

The California Assembly Budget Committee recently passed a bill known as AB 76. The bill is ready to be signed or vetoed by California’s Governor Jerry Brown.

This bill would give local governments the option of complying with the current Public Records Act, in an attempt to free up money.

Under the current law, local governments are required to respond to requests within 10 days and respond to the requesting party explaining,

a). They need an extension or,

b). The records request has been denied.

Legislative analysts think this could save the state tens of millions of dollars, but these numbers are not reputable as they are derived from unreliable methodologies.

On June 19, 2013, leaders from the California Newspaper Publishers Association (including Executive Editor of The Desert Sun Greg Burton) have voiced their concern in a letter to Brown.

They are concerned about the implications of AB 76 and SB 71 if they are not vetoed or reconsidered by Brown.

The letter reads, “As experts on compliance with out state’s current Public Records Act, we can assure you that many local jurisdictions will not – as some legislators suggest – voluntarily abide by best practices. In the real world, cities, counties, schools and government boards already spend abundant time and money trying not to comply with the act. Inordinate delays are typical, illegal denials common.”

MORE: Read letter from media leaders to Governor Jerry Brown 

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