Remedy for Perceived Open Meeting Violations
Prompted by an appellate court ruling that the Brown Act provided no remedy for past violations if the perpetrating body claims they’ve been suspended, CalAware co-sponsored a successful 2012 bill, SB 1003, providing a way for local public bodies to avoid litigation by pledging to abandon meeting-related practices that prompt accusations of Brown Act violations–without conceding that they are unlawful. It also gives citizens the opportunity to demand and achieve such commitments to “cease and desist” from certain practices that result in needless mystery or surprise without having to file a lawsuit.
Public Records Access Enforcement
Prompted by its 2006 audit results, CalAware sponsored AB 2927, which among other things would have ovided for immediate Attorney General review of every
public agency denial of access to its records, and for a fine of up to $100 per each day a public agency was found by a court to have withheld access not only incorrectly but willfully. Vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger for requiring AG review of access denials by a governor’s office.
Public Records Access Improvement
Prompted by Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto of AB 2927, CalAware sponsored AB 1393, which would have required every state agency, board and commission with a website to provide on its home page an HTML form allowing people to submit requests for
public records, and called on Attorney General Jerry Brown to convene an expert study group to recommend which types of records should be routinely posted on state websites to spare citizens from having to ask for them piecemeal. Vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger as unnecessary.
Access to Records of Auxiliary Organizations
Prompted by an appellate court ruling that nonprofit auxiliary organizations providing funding to public colleges and universities were not subject to the California Public Records Act, CalAware in 2009 supported SB 218, which subjects auxiliaries to special records disclosure requirements closely paralleling the CPRA.
Protection for Citizens Speaking at Public Meetings
Prompted by repeated abuses by local government bodies, CalAware in 2014 co-sponsored AB 194, a bill protecting citizens’ rights to address public officials at open meetings without viewpoint discrimination, interruptions and other frustrations; Governor Brown vetoed the bill as unnecessary.
Announcement Summarizing Public Officials’ Raises
Prompted by other legislation correcting self-dealing abuses by officials of the City of Bell, CalAware in 2016 supported a bill—SB 1436—to require local government bodies to provide an oral summary of their rationale for giving their top executives a raise or benefits improvement.
California Legislature Transparency Act
CalAware in 2016 was an early endorser of this citizen initiative constitutional amendment, which placed on the November ballot Proposition 54, ending last minute “gut and amend” tactics to escape public awareness, and providing for both official and citizen video of all hearings and floor action.