Open government bill stalls in Sacramento

Chris Rizo Jun. 29, 2009, 10:39am

Kevin Jeffries (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-The fate of a constitutional amendment aimed at improving deliberations in the state Legislature rests largely in the hands of state Assemblyman Ted Lieu, a candidate for state attorney general.

Liu, a Torrance Democrat and chairman of the powerful Assembly Rules Committee, plays a leading role in deciding how the Republican proposal is handled, if at all. His committee has drawn fire from the author of the open-government bill.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 would require the state Legislature to notify the public 72 hours before voting on a bill and to make the text of the bill available in print 24 hours before voting.

So far, the proposal by Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Murrieta, has not received a hearing, in the five months since it was introduced.

"I find it ironic that a bill that would put an end to backroom deals is being held hostage in a backroom somewhere," Jeffries said in a recent statement. "So much for 'open and transparent' government."

Jeffries said the introduced the measure over frustration with how legislation is handled in the Democrat-controlled Legislature.

"Midnight amendments, being told to vote on measures just minutes after receiving the bill, you name it; the things that are demanded of us defies all decorum of good government," Jeffries said.

The Brown Act requires local governments to post their agenda at least three days in advance.

"Local governments have to comply with similar posting requirements in the Brown Act, why shouldn't the state Legislature?" Jeffries added.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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