SACRAMENTO –Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 85 authored by Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita. AB 85 would have strengthened transparency in state agencies by closing a loophole that many state boards have exploited to bar the public from attending two-member committees.
Wilk said, “AB 85 would have required state agencies to operate under the same rules that Sacramento forces local government to comply with. Lack of transparency is one of the reasons people have lost faith in government institutions. ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is a prevalent attitude in the state capitol.”
AB 85 had unanimous support in both the Assembly and Senate before being vetoed by Governor Brown.
Governor Brown stated in his veto message that, “the more informal deliberation of advisory bodies is best left to current law.”
Wilk responded, “The State Constitution states, ‘people have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, and, therefore, the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies shall be open to public scrutiny.’ As it stands now, multiple state agencies are denying the public access to meetings. Agencies such as the High Speed Rail Authority specifically form two-member committees to circumvent open-meeting requirements. This is not in good faith and goes directly against the intent of the Bagley-Keene Act as well as the California State Constitution.”
Without AB 85, many state agencies will continue to abuse the vague language in the Bagley-Keene Act to continue holder closed-door meetings.
Wilk added, “I am extremely disappointed the Governor is allowing the agencies under his direct supervision to ban the public from participating in important deliberations.”