Assembly budget records now open

December 2, 2011

Budget records of state Assembly members will be released for public scrutiny, a Sacramento judge decided Thursday. Shortly after the tentative decision was posted, Assembly officials said they will not immediately contest it. [Sacramento Bee]

The Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times sued the Assembly in August, challenging its proclaimed right to keep secret records of expenditures of individual members.

Judge Timothy M. Frawley said in his 12-page decision that “The court concludes that the records were improperly withheld under the Open Records Act. The court is persuaded that the strong public interest in disclosure outweighs any reason for keeping the records secret.”

The Assembly divides $146.7 million annually among its members.

The lower house had balked at making those records available publicly, claiming the documents were “preliminary drafts” and thus none of the public’s business.

“The Legislature has no authority to interpret the laws and determine rights; that is the function of the judiciary,” Frawley said.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) started the battle when he alleged that his office budget had been cut to punish him as the lone Democrat to vote against this year’s state budget. He demanded member-by-member budget records, and Assembly officials demurred.

Portantino hailed the judge’s decision today as “a tremendous victory for democracy.”


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5 Comments

  1. easymoney says:

    “The lower house had balked at making those records available publicly, claiming the documents were “preliminary drafts” and thus none of the public’s business.”
    This one line speaks volumes of how much contempt there is for the “public” at the politcal level in our legislature. Shame on all of them especially Rep. Portantino…

    (6) 8 Total Votes - 7 up - 1 down
    • Cindy says:

      This is what we get for allowing our government to box us into corners where we believe we only have two choices at the ballot box. Don’t vote for a Republican or a Democrat in 2012.

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
    • bobfromsanluis says:

      Um, I think your outrage is a little off the mark, as in: “Shame on all of them, especially Rep. Portantino…..” If you read the article closely you will notice that none of this would be happening if it weren’t for Rep. Portantino, especially the second to last paragraph: “Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintridge) started the battle when he alleged that his office budget had been cut to punish him as the lone Democrat to vote against this year’s state budget. He demanded member-by-member budget records, and Assembly officials demurred.

      Now, I really agree that the rest of the legislators are behaving very badly, especially the quote about ” … and thus none of the public’s business.” – that quote speaks volumes about the attitude of some who get elected to “represent” us.

      (7) 7 Total Votes - 7 up - 0 down
      • Cindy says:

        Your point is well made bob. For those who are willing to pay close attention (fat chance) they should be voting non partisan tickets that include the few good guy’s in the Dem and Rep parties.
        But that isn’t going to happen so I am supporting a NO VOTE on all Dem’s and Reps for the time being. Hopefully people will look to other parties and later the few good guy’s (Dem’s & Reps) can be mentioned for consideration just prior to elections.

        ************ RON PAUL in 2012 – end the Fed************

        (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down
  2. r0y says:

    I love the comment, “the documents were “preliminary drafts” and thus none of the public’s business.” – wow. I’d love to see WHO exactly said that, and let his/her voters know they feel this way.

    Then I’d ask, “So what is it that our State Assembly does that the citizens have no business knowing about?”

    Good for Mr. Portantino. Just too bad that it took someone taking away *his* candy for him to cry about this.

    (16) 16 Total Votes - 16 up - 0 down

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