Peter Scheer: All levels of government must be transparent, so yes on (CA) Prop 42

Proposition 42, on the ballot June 4, will amend the state Constitution to assure local governments — cities, counties, school boards, etc. — are legally bound to observe open-government requirements. If you prefer transparency to secrecy in your city or county government, the choice is clear: Vote for Prop 42.

Prop. 42 solves a problem that has repeatedly undercut enforcement of California's open meetings law (the Brown Act) and open records law (the Public Records Act). Because these laws are "mandated" by the Legislature, the state must reimburse local governments for their costs. Although the costs are small, local governments and the state inevitably disagree on the amount of reimbursement, and those disagreements, in turn, provide legal cover for local governments to suspend their compliance with parts or all of the acts.

Prop. 42 solves this problem by converting the existing legislative mandate (which has to be reimbursed by the state) into a constitutional mandate (which does not). Prop 42, in other words, unequivocally reallocates these costs to local governments. Continue>>>