Brown pushing to make California Public Records Act compliance optional

June 21, 2013

Jerry BrownCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown is proposing changes to the California Public Records Act that would allow local governments to opt out of compliance with certain aspects of the law. [LA Times]

If approved, the proposal would allow local agencies and commissions to exempt themselves by way of voice vote from the requirements of responding to records requests within 10 days and making the documents available electronically.

The proposed changes to the Public Records Act passed both the Assembly and the Senate Friday as part of the state budget. Brown, who has yet to sign the bill, says the proposed changes are cost cutting measures that would save the state the expense of reimbursing officials for producing some records.

Brown’s proposal to weaken the Public Records Act comes as he, along with the legislators, is receiving a 5 percent pay raise, which a state panel approved Wednesday.

Brown said Wednesday evening that California residents should have prompt access to government records and that he supported “enshrining these protections in California’s Constitution.” However, the governor suggested that residents ensure such access through a ballot measure that would force local governments to absorb all expense incurred while responding to record requests.

Wednesday, Assembly Speaker John Perez offered legislation that would rescind the gutting of the Public Records Act, but Brown and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg rejected the proposal.

A group of big-city mayors also met with Brown in the Capitol Wednesday, and they, too, criticized the proposed changes to the records law.

“For them to stick this into a larger budget just seems to be corrosive to democracy,” said Los Angeles Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti.

Dozens of news agencies also criticized the proposal Wednesday.




  1. MaryMalone says:

    BTW, Brown and the State Senate caved on changing the PRA, as discussed in this morning’s LATimes. (

    (-4) 6 Total Votes - 1 up - 5 down
  2. slojustice says:

    Another way for our government to stay out of touch with the people who elected them. Also, I knew when they were talking about a bogus balanced budget that a raise was on the way. Boy, I just love this one party government!

    (15) 21 Total Votes - 18 up - 3 down
  3. kayaknut says:

    This will pass, Mr. Brown does not want to stop his money flow, all we will have is to remember this when his re-election comes up and tell him enough is enough and goodbye

    (11) 21 Total Votes - 16 up - 5 down
    • r0y says:

      Not going to happen: too many people are “on the dole” from this state / government.

      Once you have enough dependent on you, you are a permanent fixture. Why do you think the Brits can’t get rid of their NHS no matter what they do? About 51% of voters work for or benefit from it, financially. We’re about there when you add up all the “goodies” that are taken from hard workers and given to those who do not wish to be hard workers. Period.

      (12) 26 Total Votes - 19 up - 7 down
  4. Citizen says:

    If this goes through, SLO County and all the city governments will opt out. Our window to what is happening will be gone.

    I’m surprised that Jerry Brown is behind the amendments; he used to be for the people, not the bureaucrats. I guess that changes when you’re the top bureaucrat in the state.

    (10) 16 Total Votes - 13 up - 3 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      I’m not surprised at what any politician does.

      Don’t believe what any politician says he/she will do if elected. Don’t believe that, because they say they believe America needs ethics, it means that the politician will be ethical if elected. Look to their past political history to get an idea of what fresh hell they will bring to our country if elected.

      If the Obama administration does not teach you anything else, that is one lesson you can take to the trading floor.

      Bush Jr, on the other hand, pretty much promised us hell on earth and he pretty much delivered it.

      (-9) 9 Total Votes - 0 up - 9 down
  5. MikeB says:

    I urge the public to weigh in. Here is the language in my email and letter to the Governor:

    June 21, 2013

    The Honorable Jerry Brown
    Governor of the State of California
    c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Dear Governor Brown:

    It is with great disappointment that I read of your efforts to water down the
    Public Records Act through a proposal to allow local governments to opt out
    of compliance.

    Having served as a public official myself, I find this proposal detrimental to the
    welfare of the public, particularly as related to their right to seek information
    and engage their government concerning potential malfeasance.

    I have supported you since you became governor, including your efforts in reign
    in the abuses by redevelopment agencies, but should you be successful in watering down the Public Records Act, I feel that you will destroy your legacy as a good
    governor and lose the respect of the many people who support transparency in
    their government.

    In earnest,

    Michael Brennler

    (27) 31 Total Votes - 29 up - 2 down
    • fat chance says:

      Great letter, only problem is I don’t think anybody in the government gives a rats ass what the citizens of this country thinks about them…..they are going to do anything they dam well please, knowing we won’t do a dam thing about it.

      (10) 10 Total Votes - 10 up - 0 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        Fortunately, the Democrats in the California legislature and, finally, Gov. Brown, were swayed by the amount of outcry over the planned changes in the PRA that they abandoned the idea.

        We can also thank the press for their vigorous efforts to stop the planned changes of the PRA.

        Here is a link to the LATimes article from yesterday about the governor and the legislature being forced to back down because of the huge outcry from the public, the press, and others:


        (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
        • kayaknut says:

          The only reason they changed their minds was because a few very large donors must have spoke up because the politicians care little about the regular voter and only pay attention if one of the money people/groups/unions speak up

          (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down

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