Friday, April 14, 2006

Letters wanted to support records reform

CalAware, which fights for open meetings and open records, is asking journalists to write letters in support of Assembly Bill 2927, which would strengthen open records laws and require agencies to make more public documents available on the Internet.

Terry Francke (left), CalAware's general counsel, calls the legislation "the most significant California Public Records Act reform measure in years."

AB2927, introduced by Mark Leno, D-San Francisco (right), would require every state agency to:
    • allow citizens to request public records through an agency's web site;

    • post online financial disclosure forms (Form 700) for every officer, employee or contractor of the agency who is required to file such a form;

    • post the terms of all current employment and consulting contracts;

    • post the full text of every lawsuit settlement;

    • post every record disclosed by the agency in the past year under the open records act.

Leno's bill would also stiffen penalties for agencies that improperly deny or delay records requests, including a possible $100-a-day fine.

The Assembly Governmental Organization Committee is scheduled to hold the first hearing on the bill on Wednesday, April 19. Send letters to Eric Johnson, a consultant to the Assembly GO Committee, via email at eric.johnson@assm.ca.gov or by fax at (916) 319-3979. [PDF of sample letter] [Santa Cruz Sentinel editorial explaining and supporting the legislation]

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