Prop 42 and the Challenge and Opportunity for Delivering on Citizen Demands

Yesterday, citizens in the state of California amended their constitution to make it more open and transparent:

Voters approved Tuesday a measure to give greater protection to California’s open meeting and public records laws by putting them in the state Constitution.

As described by the Sacramento Bee, Propositional 42 was constitutional amendment enacted to ensure the protection of already existing laws around government transparency. The risk was delivery. The state had frozen its budgetary outlays to help local governments to deliver on those laws, and in so doing hollowing them out. Prop 42 shifts the responsibility to pay for compliance to the local governments themselves. It passed handily (61.5%) yesterday with the only real debate coming around the budgetary impact: “There was no formal opposition to the measure, although the League of California Cities said it was ‘concerned’ that shifting the costs of complying with public-records laws will hurt agencies that are already struggling to make their budgets.”  Read more here.

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