Cheat Sheet: Prop 42 on Public Records and Open Meetings

Public records files. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET
Public records files. | Photo: Zach Behrens/KCET

Prop 42 will appear on California's June 3, 2014 ballot.

In California, there are mainly two laws helping to ensure government transparency. Under the Public Records Act of 1968, anyone is allowed to request and receive access to public information and documents. Under the Brown Act of 1953, government meetings are to be made open to the public.

Proposition 42 removes the state's responsibility to reimburse local governments for the cost of fulfilling these laws and throws full responsibility to them. Currently, municipalities could opt not to fulfill the two laws based on the state not reimbursing them. Prop 42 makes the laws mandatory.

Supporters say the initiative will remove the last legal barrier to many people receiving public records and many even argue it could encourage putting many documents online, streamlining the process of making data available to the public.

Critics argue the initiative would impose an enormous financial burden on cities to foot the cost of compliance.

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Key Points:

  • Adds the requirement to the State Constitution that local governments follow the Public Records Act and the Brown Act.
  • Gets rid of the state's responsibility for the any cost related to enforcing the laws.
  • The initiative would apply to the laws as they are now and any future changes to Public Records Act or the Brown Act.

What Your Vote Means:

  • Voting YES would mean the state would NOT reimburse local governments for the cost of complying with public records laws.
  • Voting NO would mean local governments would still receive reimbursement from the state for the cost of complying with public records laws.

Principal Supporters:

  • California Democratic Party
  • California Republican Party
  • California Newspaper Publishers Association
  • First Amendment Coalition

Principal Opponents:

  • Rural County Representatives of California
  • Green Party of California
  • Gary Wesley

For the full text of Proposition 42, scroll through below:

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