Saturday, April 21, 2007

Support sought for open records bill

The public information advocacy group Californians Aware is seeking public support of AB 1393, a bipartisan bill that would require state agencies and local governments to create a Public Information Center on their Web sites where the public could request records electronically.

Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar bill last year because it also required the state Attorney General to review complaints from the public about state and local agencies that refused to turn over records. The governor argued that the bill would create a conflict of interest for the AG, who also has to represent state agencies in lawsuits, including those over public records. This year's bill eliminates that conflict by dropping the AG review provision for state agencies. However, the AG would still review complaints about local governments denying records requests.

On April 18, the bill was approved 13-0 by the Assembly Committee on Government Organization. The next stop is the Assembly Judiciary Committee on date to be determined.

AB 1393 was introduced by Assemblymen Mark Leno (left), D-San Francisco, and Bill Maze (second from left), R-Visalia, and co-authored by Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian, R-Stockton (third from left). Californians Aware suggests that letters be sent to Mark Leno, California Assembly, P.O. Box 942849, Sacramento, CA, 94249-0013.

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