The proponents of Proposition 54—the California Legislature Transparency Act, which passed with 65 percent voter approval last November±—have delivered a letter to Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon opposing SCR-38, his bill that seeks to create house rules undermining some of the now constitutional provisions of Prop. 54.
The letter, signed by Prop. 54 proponents Charles Munger, Jr. and Senator Sam Blakeslee, outlines how the language in SCR-38 violates state constitutional provisions giving “any person” the right to record legislative proceedings, and that require any rules restricting the exercise of that right to be “for the sole purpose of minimizing disruption of the proceedings.”
“In its current form, SCR- 38 could deny anyone—including the press—exercise of their right to record legislative proceedings,” said Munger.
“The rules as drafted could be used not to minimize disruption, but deliberately to make it very easy for some persons to record and very hard for others. The language in SCR 38 would give the right to record proceedings from the Assembly and Senate floor only to members of the press approved for that purpose by the Assembly and Senate, the same procedure that existed before passage of Prop 54. If adopted, these rules would even prevent prevent legislators, and persons providing testimony, from recording proceedings of which they are part.”
The recording restrictions are not the first attempt at violating voter-approved state constitutional requirements related to legislative transparency. In early June 2017, more than 50 bills were passed out of the Assembly without observing the constitutional rule that legislation must be printed, distributed to members, and published on the internet at least 72 hours before a final vote.