Reacting to strong opposition by newspapers, new media, open government advocates and a wide array of groups that depend on access to public records, the Legislature and the Governor announced yesterday they would rescind their plan to suspend key provisions of the CPRA.
Senator Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) also jointly announced that they would support a constitutional amendment that was introduced in the Senate today to make clear that neither the CPRA nor the Brown Act would be subject to the state mandate law that is at the heart of the controversy.
The reversal began when the Assembly voted yesterday to pass SB 71 on a 54-25 vote which contains all of the same language in AB 76, approved by both houses last week, with the CPRA suspension language stripped out.
The Governor and Senate initially balked when the Speaker announced Wednesday that the Assembly would vote yesterday to uphold the CPRA. They said at the time that they would support a constitutional amendment.
After the Assembly's vote, however, Steinberg and Perez issued the joint statement which said, "We agree there needs to be both an immediate fix to ensure local entities comply with the California Public Records Act and a long-term solution so the California Public Records Act is not considered a reimbursable mandate."
The Senate then announced it would take up SB 71 for a vote next week and Governor Brown said he will sign the bill when it comes to him.
The issue arose when the Commission on State Mandates decided in May, 2011 that Los Angeles County and the Riverside School District should be reimbursed for the costs associated with their responses to CPRA requests.
Last week the Legislature passed and sent to the Governor AB 76 which contained language to preemptively suspend the mandates before local agencies have a chance to bill the state for the increased costs. AB 76 required local agencies to follow existing law as a best practice unless they publicly announced after January 1, 2014 that they would opt-out.