BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNANCE AND FINANCE
                         Senator Robert M. Hertzberg, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

                              
          
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          |Bill No:  |SB 272                           |Hearing    |4/15/15  |
          |          |                                 |Date:      |         |
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          |Author:   |Hertzberg                        |Tax Levy:  |No       |
          |----------+---------------------------------+-----------+---------|
          |Version:  |4/6/15                           |Fiscal:    |Yes      |
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          |Consultant|Weinberger                                            |
          |:         |                                                      |
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                             LOCAL GOVERNMENT DATA SYSTEMS



          Requires local governments to catalog, and make publicly  
          available, information about their data systems.


           Background and Existing Law

           The California Public Records Act (CPRA) requires public records  
          to be open to inspection during office hours and gives every  
          person a right to inspect public records, with specific  
          exceptions.  The Public Records Act also specifies procedures  
          for requesting copies of public records.  When a person seeks a  
          record in an electronic format, an agency must, upon request,  
          make the information available in any electronic format in which  
          it holds the information (AB 2799, Shelley, 2000).

          Although state law already guarantees the public's right to  
          access electronic records that are not otherwise exempt from  
          disclosure, it can be difficult for members of the public to  
          know exactly what types of data local governments collect, what  
          formats the data are in, and where the data are stored.   
          Advocates for government transparency and open data want  
          legislators to make it easier for the public to identify what  
          electronic records they can request from local governments  
          pursuant to the California Public Records Act. 

           Proposed Law







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           Senate Bill 272 requires local agencies, in implementing the  
          California Public Records Act, to create a catalog of enterprise  
          systems.  

          SB 272 defines "enterprise system" as a system that is both:
                 A multi-departmental system or a system that contains  
               information collected about the public.
                 A system of record.

          The bill defines "system of record" as a system that serves as  
          an original source of data within an agency.

          SB 272 requires that the catalog prepared by each local agency  
          must:
                 List the enterprise systems utilized by the agency.
                 Disclose, for each enterprise system, all of the  
               following: 
                  o         Current system vendor.
                  o         Current system product.
                  o         A brief statement of the system's purpose.
                  o         A general description of categories, modules,  
                    or layers of data.
                  o         The department that serves as the system's  
                    primary custodian.
                  o         How frequently system data is collected.
                  o         How frequently system data is updated. 
                 Be made publicly available in a specified manner.

          SB 272 states that its provisions must not be interpreted to  
          limit a person's right to inspect public records pursuant to the  
          provision of the California Public Records Act.

          The bill contains legislative findings and declarations  
          regarding the potential benefits of expanded public access to  
          electronic data gather and maintained by local agencies.

           State Revenue Impact

           No estimate.


           Comments









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           1.  Purpose of the bill  .  Government agencies are rapidly  
          expanding their use of computer technologies to conduct the  
          public's business, including budgeting, mapping, and issuing  
          permits.  Much of the electronic data that local governments  
          throughout California possess can be a powerful tool for  
          improving the lives of Californians.  Harnessing the power of  
          local data will help to make government more transparent and  
          accountable to the public, foster collaboration among agencies  
          to deliver public services more efficiently and effectively, and  
          support policies that generate economic growth and improve  
          California communities.  However, members of the public too  
          often are not aware of what data local governments collect, the  
          format the data is in, or the location where the data is stored.  
           Similarly, a lack of information about local agencies' data  
          systems may impede efforts among local agencies to collaborate  
          on projects to standardize and share public data sets.  By  
          requiring local governments to share information about their  
          enterprise data systems, SB 272 takes a significant step towards  
          making California local government data more accessible to the  
          public.

          2.   Definitions needed  .  Some of the terms used in SB 272 are  
          ambiguous and not defined elsewhere in state law.  For example,  
          the requirement that a catalog of enterprise systems must  
          describe categories, modules, or layer of data may need to be  
          explained in more detail.  Similarly, the bill's definition of  
          an enterprise system as including a system that contains  
          information collected about the public may be open to different  
          interpretations.  To ensure that SB 272's provisions are  
          implemented uniformly in the manner intended, the Committee may  
          wish to consider amending SB 272 to provide more specific  
          definitions of what is meant by the phrases "categories,  
          modules, or layers of data" and "information collected by the  
          public."

          3.   Deadlines matter  .  SB 272 requires local governments to  
          catalog information about their enterprise systems, but doesn't  
          specify when the catalog must be completed and made available to  
          the public.  The Committee may wish to consider amending SB 272  
          to specify a date by which local governments must comply with  
          the bill's provisions.

          4.   Who pays  ?  The Legislative Counsel's Office says that SB 272  
          would impose a state-mandated local program because it requires  








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          local government officials to perform additional duties related  
          to creating and publicly releasing a catalog of enterprise  
          systems.  The California Constitution generally requires the  
          state government to reimburse the costs of new or expanded state  
          mandated local programs.  However, on June 3, 2014, California  
          voters approved Proposition 42, which amended the California  
          Constitution to require local agencies to comply with the  
          California Public Records Act.  Proposition 42 also requires  
          local agencies to comply with any subsequent statutory enactment  
          amending the Public Records Act that contains specified findings  
          that the newly enacted statute furthers specified constitutional  
          provisions guaranteeing public access to public agency meetings  
          and records.  SB 272 contains legislative findings that the bill  
          furthers the purpose of Section 3 of Article I of the California  
          Constitution "[b]ecause increased information about what data is  
          collected by local agencies could be leveraged by the public to  
          more efficiently access and better use that information."  As a  
          result, SB 272 disclaims the state's responsibility for  
          reimbursing local governments' costs of complying with the  
          bill's requirements.

          5.   Double-referred  .  The Senate Rules Committee has ordered a  
          double-referral of SB 272 --- first to the Senate Governance &  
          Finance Committee which has policy jurisdiction over state laws  
          relating to local governments, and then to the Senate Judiciary  
          Committee, which plans to hear the bill at its April 21 hearing.


           Support and  
          Opposition   (4/9/15)


           Support  :  American Federation of State, County, and Municipal  
          Employees, AFL-CIO; California Business Roundtable; California  
          Professional Firefighters; San Francisco Technology Democrats;  
          Sunlight Foundation.

           Opposition  :  Unknown.


                                      -- END --

          









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