Southeast : Bill Would Require Truth by Officials at Public Meetings

"When in doubt," Mark Twain counseled, "tell the truth."

But a Diamond Bar state assemblyman doesn't want to leave honesty unregulated.

Republican Gary Miller, whose district includes La Mirada, La Habra Heights and the eastern edge of Whittier, has riled local city officials by introducing legislation that mandates truthfulness at public meetings--under penalty of perjury.

Miller said he is surprised by the reaction to AB 2403, introduced at the behest of the Southern California Contractors Assn., an organization of engineering contractors that supports awarding public works projects through sealed bids. A companion bill would guarantee members of the public as much time to speak on an issue at hearings as staff members take.

His bill, still in skeletal form until details are fleshed out within the next few weeks, would not require city officials to take an oath before testifying. But it would mean that if someone intentionally fabricated or misrepresented information, "there is recourse other than just saying 'Naughty, naughty, naughty,"' Miller said.

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