“If people behaved like governments, you’d call the cops.” ~Kelvin Throop
By Alden Benton
Proposition 54, the California Legislature Transparency Act, is the topic of Part 5 of my series on the 2016 California ballot proposals.
This proposition seeks to make most of the proceedings of the California Legislature (Senate and Assembly), and their respective committees, more open to public participation via the internet.
Proposition 54 will change legislative procedure by requiring the Legislature to make audiovisual recordings of its proceedings and post them on the internet within 24 hours of the end of the meeting. Recordings posted to the internet must remain available for at least 20 years.
Closed sessions, sessions held to discuss personnel issues, legal matters, property purchases, or security, are not included in the recording and posting requirements.
This measure also prohibits the Legislature from passing any bill unless it has been in print and published on the internet for at least 72 hours.
The Legislature can waive the 72-hour publishing rule in cases of public emergency. However, the governor must declare a state of emergency before the Legislature can waive the 72-hour publishing requirement. The emergency waiver is only for bills related to the emergency.
Proposition 54 allows anyone, except in closed sessions, to record legislative proceedings and allows use for any legitimate purpose without paying any fee to the state.
The California Legislative Analyst estimates that Proposition 54 will require a one-time cost of $1-$2 million for cameras and equipment and annual costs of $1 million for staff and internet storage. These expenses will come from the annual operating costs of the Legislature.
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