California cities want transparency rules waived in pandemic

Submitted by NFOIC on Wed, 04/01/2020 - 2:40pm

Citing unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, city officials across California are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend or delay numerous state laws, saying they’re unable to comply with everything from environmental regulations to public records laws that give people a window into how the government is spending public money.

Noting that city resources and personnel are stretched thin responding to the pandemic, the executive director of the League of California Cities asked Newsom last week to “take immediate action to pause certain statutory requirements.”

The league that represents nearly 500 cities is seeking to delay the state’s constitutionally mandated California Public Records Act, which requires transparency in government decision-making and spending. The law requires public agencies to respond to requests for information within 10 days, though many routinely take advantage of legally allowed extensions. (Read more.)