Assembly reverses course on open records limits

SACRAMENTO — Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said his house would take up an amended version of a major budget bill on Thursday without the proposed limits on public access to open records.

If the measure passes the Assembly and Senate, Gov. Jerry Brown would essentially be left with a choice: signing a budget bill that places restrictions on the state’s open meeting laws or one that instead could leave the state on the hook to pay tens of millions of dollars to local governments for their compliance with parts of the law.

“This means that the California Public Records Act will remain intact without any changes as part of the budget — consistent with the Assembly’s original action,” Speaker Pérez said.

Lawmakers passed a measure last week that made compliance with parts of the public records laws optional, but Brown has yet to sign the proposal into law.


Officials now must respond to a request for records from a member of the public within 10 days and are required to make the documents available electronically. The change, which Brown requested as a cost-cutting measure, would allow the officials to skip both requirements with a voice vote.

The same vote would permit them to reject requests without explanation and would no longer require them to help citizens identify existing information.

The statement did not say if Brown had agreed to changing the deal lawmakers struck.

Calls to Brown's office were not immediately returned.