Proponents of Voter-Approved Legislative Transparency Oppose Proposed Senate Rules Limiting Californian’s Rights to Record Legislative Proceedings
SCR-38 Language Violates California State Constitution as Amended by Prop. 54 Passed in November 2016, Limits Press Access to Record Legislative Proceedings
SACRAMENTO – Today the proponents of Proposition 54 – the California Legislature Transparency Act which passed with 65 percent voter approval in November 2016 – delivered a letter to Senator Kevin de Leon opposing SCR-38 (de Leon), which seeks to create rules related to the now constitutional provisions of Prop. 54.
The letter, signed by Prop. 54 proponents Charles Munger, Jr. and Senator Sam Blakeslee, outlines how the language in SCR-38 violates state constitutional provisions providing “any person” with the right to record legislative proceedings, and that require any rules restricting the exercise of that right to be “for the sole purpose of minimizing disruption of the proceedings.” The proponents request that the language in SCR-38 be changed to adhere to constitutional legislative transparency requirements. The letter can be found at http://www.holdpoliticiansaccountable.org/
“In its current form, SCR-38 could deny anyone – including the press – exercise of their right to record legislative proceedings,” said Munger. “The rules as drafted could be used not to minimize disruption, but deliberately to make it very easy for some persons to record and very hard for others. The language in SCR-38 violates the State Constitution and does not reflect what voters intended when they overwhelming passed Prop. 54.”
SCR-38 would only give the right to record proceedings from the Assembly and Senate floor to members of the press approved for that purpose by the Assembly and Senate, the same procedure that existed before passage of Prop 54. If adopted, these rules would also prevent the people’s elected representatives themselves, and persons providing testimony, even from recording proceedings of which they are part.
The proposed rules in SCR-38 are not the first attempt at violating voter-approved state constitutional requirements related to legislative transparency. In early June 2017, more than 50 bills were passed out of the Assembly without observing the that legislation must be printed, distributed to members, and published on the internet at least 72 hours before a final vote.
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