SACRAMENTO – Today Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, introduced Assembly Bill 1566, which will help improve the accountability of our state agencies, specifically surrounding the recent actions of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
This past October, the Los Angeles Times published an expose claiming the Rail Authority withheld specific documents in a 2014 report presented to the Legislature. The documents featured in the story revealed that the Authority had projected two separate cost estimates to complete the first segment of the project. The number presented to the Legislature stated the cost of the system from Merced to Burbank would cost $31 billion. However, the private estimate presented four months before the published report stated the costs would be $40 billion, a difference of $9 billion.
“The Rail Authority's actions not only violate the public trust, but it loosens the balance of power written into our constitution by denying the Legislature's ability to provide proper oversight of the executive branch,” Wilk said. “The truth is this situation should have never arisen and a state agency should never knowingly deceive the Legislature.”
AB 1566 will require a written report submitted to the Legislature by any state agency or department to include a signed statement by the head of the agency or department declaring the factual contents of the written report are true, accurate, and complete to the best of his or her knowledge. In addition, any person who presents false material is eligible to a civil penalty of up to $20,000.
“AB 1566 will solidify the head of any state agency or department is held to an expectation of honesty,” Wilk added.