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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Good Fix in California

On a 69-0 vote, the California State Assembly today sent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Los Angeles) legislation to allow greater public access to government contracts as well as audits and reviews of public agencies. Once the bill is received by the Governor, he will have twelve days to sign or veto the legislation.

Senate Bill 1696, authored by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo), would prohibit a state or local agency from allowing an outside entity to control the disclosure of information that is otherwise subject to the state’s Public Records Act. In addition, the bill would specify that regardless of any contract term to the contrary, a contract for the purpose of conducting a review, audit, or report between a private entity and a state or local agency is subject to the same disclosure requirements as other public records.

The need for the measure arose from the denial of a January 2007 request by the San Francisco Chronicle to the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). UCSF refused to release an independent review of its finances or even the name of the firm that was issued a contract for $165,000 to carry out the review. UCSF claimed the auditing firm controlled the confidentiality of the contract and the audit.

More here.

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