Public Access to Legislative Records
In 2011, the California State Legislature attempted to stymie an effort by California newspapers to obtain copies of annual allowances and budget summaries for each Assembly member and committee for certain specific budget years; office budget and expenditure approvals for each member, committee, and subcommittee in a specific current legislative session; and documents reflecting changes to the budgets or the expenditure approvals.
This incident and the subsequent court case were an embarrassment to the legislature and a travesty for the people of California. Assemblywoman Grove believes the California State Legislature should hold a broad standard of public access to records, equal to the standards held by local legislative bodies and state executive agencies.
This bill inserts provisions in state law so the public is guaranteed reasonable access to records of the California State Legislature, including budget and expenditure records for individual legislators and committees. It declares that the California State Legislature should assume a standard of maximum disclosure of the conduct of government operations when it considers the release of records to the public - just as other California legislative bodies do under the California Public Records Act and as federal agencies do under the Freedom of Information Act.