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Government & Politics

Legislators Scramble to Undo Changes to Public Records Act

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California Senate leaders say they’ll introduce a Constitutional Amendment to ensure compliance with the state’s Public Records Act. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the move comes after an unexpected public outcry against watering it down.

A provision attached to the budget bill made complying with certain parts of the state’s Public Records Act optional. The change enraged members of the media and lawmakers have been scrambling to undo the move since then.

Democratic Senator Mark Leno says he’ll introduce a Constitutional Amendment that makes complying with the entire Act mandatory and says local governments must pay for it. Still, Leno defended his original vote supporting the change, saying making those provisions optional didn’t affect the core principle of the Act.

“And that core principle is that public records are open to inspection during office hours of every local and state agency and that every person has a right to inspect every public record,” says Leno.

Governor Jerry Brown says he supports such a Constitutional Amendment.

The Assembly is set to take up a bill that amends the budget to remove the public records provision. Senate leaders say they won’t immediately act on that measure.

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