This post has been updated.
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation on Monday limiting the public's access to meetings where he discusses security issues with local officials.
The governor approved the bill (AB 246) in the wake of harsh criticism for his aborted effort to save money by weakening the state's public records laws.
The legislation was pushed by Los Angeles County, which ran afoul of state law in 2011 when supervisors held a closed-door meeting with Brown to discuss the governor's initiative to keep low-level offenders in county jails rather than state lockups to reduce prison overcrowding.
[Updated 5:20 p.m.: The new law adds the governor to the list of people with whom local lawmakers can meet confidentially to discuss "matters posing a threat to the security of public buildings, services and facilities, and public access to public services or facilities."
"The governor is an essential public safety official and local governments should have the flexibility to meet with him or her under the same circumstances that they would meet with the attorney general or chief of police," said Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), the bill's author.
Bradford said the change would not have affected the 2011 meeting, which the district attorney's office said should have been public because it involved policy matters and not security threats.]
The legislation passed with large bipartisan support in both the Assembly and the Senate. Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) was one of the few to speak against the measure.
“If we start allowing for exceptions in matters of 'public security,' it could be used to justify the concealment of information on anything from disaster preparedness to realignment,” Yee said this month.
Brown ended up in hot water earlier this month for a provision in his budget plan that would have exempted local governments from some requirements in California's public records laws. Under the proposal, officials would no longer need to respond to requests within 10 days or provide records electronically -- changes administration officials hoped would allow Sacramento to avoid tens of millions of dollars in reimbursements to local governments for complying with the state mandate.
A public outcry from activists and media organizations caused Brown and top lawmakers to backpedal, and they've agreed to remove the proposal from one of the budget bills.
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