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California Public Records Act compliance at risk

Published On: Jun 17 2013 08:23:47 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 17 2013 10:40:07 PM CDT

Electronic data delivery made optional by California Senate Bill 71

Santa Barbara, Calif. -

A move to save money changes the way the California Public Records Act works.

The passage of Senate Bill  71 makes delivering electronic data optional for local agencies.  The bill encourages local governments to announce orally at the next meeting if they won't comply and annually every year thereafter.

The bill would require a state-mandated local program. founder William Macfadyen said journalists and concerned citizens have a reason to be upset.  Agencies could use guidelines known as "best practices" as an excuse not to release information.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson said the budget bill doesn't limit access to public records, it shifts the fiscal responsibility onto local governments.

She said the Legislative Analyst's Office had estimated that the cost to the state for providing these services was in the tens of millions of dollars. 

Jackons called the budget measure a middle ground compromise.

But she said communities and media should step up and speak out about the importance of public access and open government to their local governments.  




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