Prop 54 - California Legislature Transparency Act

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BACKGROUND

For background information on this measure, refer to the Legislative Analyst’s Office analysis included in the Official Voter Information Guide and the LWVCEF information available on Voter’s Edge California.

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League Analysis: 

Proposition 54 gives voters a stronger voice at the state Capitol through greater transparency. Its three common-sense changes to the California Constitution will change the way business is done in Sacramento, curbing practices that give insiders and special interests the upper hand over ordinary Californians.

First, it requires that every bill be in print and posted online for at least 72 hours before its final vote in either house of the legislature. Too many bills are worked out in closed-door deals and taken to a vote before our legislators, much less the public, have time to scrutinize and give input on them. This will put an end to last-minute “gut-and amends” in which the entire content of a bill is removed and replaced with something unrelated.

Prop 54 also requires that all open legislative meetings be video recorded and posted on the internet within 24 hours, so people can see how a law was enacted (or blocked); the recordings must be available online for 20 years. Currently, the Legislature does not record and broadcast every public meeting, to the detriment of those who can’t travel to Sacramento to monitor or participate.

Prop 54 also gives everyone the right to record and share videos of public legislative proceedings for any legitimate purpose—a long overdue reform that allows the use of common modern technology.

We have open meeting laws for local governments and for state boards and commissions (the Brown and Bagley-Keene Acts). Moreover, some 69 California cities representing 15 million people, and 37 county boards of supervisors representing 27 million people, already post recordings of their meetings online. Proposition 54 holds the state legislature to standards we expect from other government bodies and furthers the critical goals of transparency and accountability in government.