Gov. Jerry Brown rejects two transparency bills

As the first year of the 2017-2018 session came to a close, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the final two bills CNPA was watching this year.

CPRA reform bill, gutted in Senate, vetoed

One measure introduced this year was intended to increase the speed of responses to records requests and compliance with the California Public Records Act generally.

In rejecting AB 1479 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), the governor stated he was unconvinced that the bill would have a measurable impact on those goals.

By the time AB 1479 reached Gov. Brown’s desk, it would only have required every agency to establish a custodian of record to handle public records inquiries.

CNPA supported an earlier version of the bill that would have allowed a court to impose a $5,000 fine on an agency that unreasonably delayed responding to a request, or otherwise acted in bad faith in executing its duties under the CPRA.

The watered-down version that made it to the governor’s desk did not address that aim. However, in his veto message the governor did signal his willingness to consider future legislation strengthening the CPRA.

Proactive posting of police records vetoed

Despite past efforts to encourage agencies to post online information that is disclosable under the CPRA, the governor did not approve a measure that would have required police agencies to post online all practice, policy and training manuals that would be subject to disclosure under the CPRA.

In vetoing SB 345 by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), the governor said that the bill was too broad and too vague to sign, but that he supported a targeted effort to bring additional transparency to police practices and procedures.

Of course, the documents targeted by this bill are still disclosable public records and must be produced to any requester seeking them.