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Proposition 42

On June 3, 2014, California voters approved Proposition 42.  According to the Official Title and Summary of Proposition 42, contained in the Voter Information Guide for the June 3, 2014 Primary Election, prepared by the Attorney General, the proposition does two things:

  • Requires local government agencies, including cities, counties, and school districts, to comply with specified state laws providing for public access to meetings of local government bodies and records of government officials. 
  • Eliminates requirement that the State reimburse local government agencies for compliance with these specified laws.  (Note: State responsibility to pay for local Brown Act costs was eliminated in 2012.) 

Proposition 42 does not add any specific obligations regarding the Public Records Act or Brown Act, but appears to strengthen the rights of the public under both acts, by placing the obligations in the Constitution.

Proposition 42 also requires that public “comply with any subsequent statutory enactment amending either act, enacting a successor act, or amending any successor act that contains findings demonstrating that the statutory enactment furthers the purposes of this section.”  This gives the Legislature the right to amend the Public Records Act or Brown Act or enact other public meeting and public records laws, despite this Constitutional change.

 The full text of Proposition 42 is:

(7) In order to ensure public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, as specified in paragraph (1), each local agency is hereby required to comply with the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code) and the Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code), and with any subsequent statutory enactment amending either act, enacting a successor act, or amending any successor act that contains findings demonstrating that the statutory enactment furthers the purposes of this section.

 This alert is not intended to substitute for legal advice.  If you have questions regarding obligations under the Public Records Act or Brown Act, please contact Kingsley Bogard.

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