Jun 17 2014

Voters Approve Prop 42 Protecting Public Access to Public Meetings and Records

– The Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s sunshine law, was strengthened by the June 3, 2014 voter approval of Proposition 42. – 

California voters in an overwhelming victory for open and transparent government approved a Constitutional amendment requiring public meetings and records to be open and available without State reimbursement of costs.

Many public entities, including the City of Piedmont, had regularly submitted claims to the State for reimbursement of costs associated with notifying the public of public meetings.  During the recent deep recession, Governor Jerry Brown suspended the State’s reimbursement of the costs. Piedmont officials agreed to continue compliance with the Brown Act; however, some jurisdictions decided not to comply when funding was terminated.

The voter approval of Proposition 42 by  2,399,314 /61.9% Yes secures and further embeds the Brown Act into the California Constitution while no longer requiring State reimbursement of costs. 

The measure requires all local governments and agencies to comply with the California Public Records Act (CPRA) and the Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act) and with any subsequent changes to the acts, thus guaranteeing a person’s right to inspect public records and attend public meetings. Proposition 42 also made these laws core government responsibilities, ensuring taxpayers are not paying for items local governments have a duty to provide on their own.

The California Public Records Act (CPRA)  provides that public records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of state or local agencies that retain those records and that every person has a right to inspect any public record. The act also requires agencies to establish written guidelines for public access to documents and to post these guidelines at their offices.

The California Ralph M. Brown Act (Brown Act) requires local legislative bodies to provide notice of the time and place for holding regular meetings and requires that all meetings of a legislative body be open and public. The act also permits all persons to attend any meeting of the local legislative body, unless a closed session is authorized.

The measure was sponsored in the California Legislature by State Senator Mark Leno (D-11) as Senate Constitutional Amendment 3.



Leave a Comment