Secret budget bill play adds secrecy provisions to law

The time, date and place of a public employee orientation will be confidential information when the governor signs the employment budget trailer bill, likely next week.

The language was dropped into the budget bill after it had been advancing, through a policy bill authored by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove).

Two weeks ago, CNPA opposed AB 2790 in the Senate Public Employee and Retirement Committee.

The bill was headed to the Senate Judiciary Committee which would have conducted an analysis on the impact to the Public Records Act. However, a few days after the bill passed out of the policy committee, the exact language contained in AB 2970 was amended into a budget trailer bill.

CNPA objected at the budget hearing to both the process and the content of the measure, which circumvented the policy-making process, usurping the public’s ability to effect the proposed change in the law. CNPA argued that the bill creates a new secrecy requirement without sufficient justification, which is detrimental to the public’s right to know.

The language was in print for less than a week before it headed to the Governor’s desk on Monday. The Governor is likely to sign the bill next week. It contains other labor-friendly policy changes that come in light of a pending Supreme Court decision in Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31, which will be issued by the end of the month.