The state Senate voted Wednesday to ask California voters to change the state Constitution to require local government agencies to abide by laws requiring their records and meetings to be open to the public, and to pay for their own cost of compliance.
Senate Constitutional Amendment 3 was approved by a 37-0 bipartisan vote and is aimed at putting in cement a requirement that Gov. Jerry Brown had initially proposed this year to make voluntary for local governments.
Brown backed away from that proposal, which was aimed at ending the requirement that the state spend tens of millions of dollars reimbursing local agencies for their compliance.
The ballot measure, which would put the amendment on the June 2014 ballot, next goes to the Assembly for action.
“I think we can all agree that the public’s access to its government and its operations is a fundamental component of our democracy,” Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) told his colleagues. “Allow the voters of California to clarify in the Constitution that public records are available to the public and public meetings are open to the public."
The Senate also acted Wednesday to prohibit the state from providing tax credits to sexually oriented businesses that hire employees in low-income areas of the state. SB 90 is a second bill changing the state’s former enterprise zone program to address controversies.
Media reports said tax credits were going to a strip club in Sacramento County. “Unfortunately there were examples of glaring issues where taxpayer money was not used wisely,” said Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres).