California Lawmakers Benefit From Public Records Carve-Outs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians are entitled to view a wide variety of emails, memos and other records created by their state and local governments.

Ask to see who your state lawmaker is emailing, however, and they’ll get a two-page canned response that says, in essence, “no way.”

Access to public records is considered paramount to maintaining trust in government and holding politicians accountable. But California lawmakers wrote themselves out of the 1968 Public Records Act that requires other government officials to release their records when the public asks.

Lawmakers instead apply their own, less transparent law.

The issue has come into focus repeatedly since the Legislative Open Records Act was signed in 1975, but little has changed.