BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 1946
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  April 26, 2012

                             ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON RULES
                                Nancy Skinner, Chair
                 AB 1946 (Grove) - As Introduced:  February 23, 2012
           
          SUBJECT  :  Legislative records.

           SUMMARY  :  Amends the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA) to add 
          a presumption in favor of public access to legislative records 
          and to add a provision declaring that nothing in the LORA shall 
          be deemed to exempt from disclosure a record that reflects the 
          approved budget allocation for a Member or the Member's office.

           EXISTING LAW  requires legislative records, as defined, to be 
          open to public inspection unless the record is exempt from 
          disclosure under the Legislative Open Records Act. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           1)Author's Statement of Purpose  :  According to the author's 
            office, the bill seeks to incorporate "a statement of maximum 
            disclosure of the conduct of government operations when it 
            considers the release of records to the public - just as other 
            California legislative bodies do under the California Public 
            Records Act."

           2)Background  :  In 2011, the Assembly, following 35 years of 
            legislative interpretation of the LORA, denied a request from 
            two newspapers for numerous records related to the Assembly's 
            internal budgeting practices.  The newspapers sued the 
            Assembly; and, in December 2011, the Sacramento County 
            Superior Court issued a ruling with a different interpretation 
            of the LORA.  The Speaker made the decision not to appeal the 
            case and directed staff to expeditiously comply, which has 
            been done.

           3)Comparison with Other State Agencies  :  The author indicates 
            that it is her intent to enact disclosure provisions 
            comparable to other state agencies, citing the California 
            Public Records Act (CPRA).  The CPRA does not contain any 
            reference to the presumption the author seeks to add.  The 
            CPRA does include a provision declaring that "access to 








                                                                  AB 1946
                                                                  Page  2

            information concerning the conduct of the people's business is 
            a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this 
            state," but the LORA already has that same language as well.   


           4)Budget Allocations  :  The bill adds a section to the LORA 
            stating that nothing in the LORA shall be deemed to exempt 
            from mandatory disclosure a record that reflects the approved 
            budget allocation for a Member of the Legislature or the 
            Member's office.  As noted above, these records have been 
            disclosed by the Assembly since the court's order.  The author 
            may also wish to clarify that this provision includes 
            assignments of staff to a particular Member, regardless of 
            whether that assignment results in a budget augmentation for 
            the Member or a change in classification for the staff. 




           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
          Kevin Dayton, Labor Issues Solutions, LLC

           Opposition 
           
          None on file
           

          Analysis Prepared by  :    Diane Griffiths/ RLS. / (916) 319-2800