Portantino Calls On Speaker To Release Details
On “Budget Secrets Task Force”
Sacramento – Assemblymember Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) today released the attached letter calling on Speaker Perez to provide details on the “Task Force” that will examine transparency in Assembly budgets:
“In August, you announced the creation of a “Task Force” designed to discuss and recommend policy changes in the Assembly, addressing the lack of public access to information regarding the $146 million dollars under your direct control.”
“Thus far, there is no evidence that the Task Force has met or is planning on meeting. That is, unless the Task Force is meeting without publicly noticing the meetings.”
Here is the Letter Assemblymember Portantino sent to Perez, Speaker of State Assembly:
ASSEMBLYMEMBER, FORTY FOURTH DISTRICT
P.O. BOX 942849
SACRAMENTO, CA 94249-0044
FAX (916) 319-2144
October 4, 2011
Honorable John A. Perez
Speaker of the Assembly
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0046
Dear Mr. Speaker,
“The reality is that in a state like California, we need to have transparency in government,” said Speaker John Perez (Swearing in speech, March 1, 2010).
In August, you announced the creation of a “Task Force” designed to discuss and recommend policy changes in the Assembly, addressing the lack of public access to information regarding the $146 million dollars under your direct control. You appointed Assemblymember Skinner as the Chair of this Task Force. As background, Ms. Skinner is being sued by the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee for being unwilling to release accurate and comprehensive budget information. Thus far, there is no evidence that the Task Force has met or is planning on meeting. That is, unless the Task Force is meeting without publicly noticing the meetings. There are no recorded minutes, notes or agendas posted or available which detail any meetings. In addition, the names of the members appointed to this Task Force have not been publicly announced. Because there have been no agendized meetings, there has been no opportunity for the public to offer testimony or input to the Task Force.
I respectfully request the following:
1. Immediate disclosure of the names of the members of this Task Force.
2. Immediate publication of the date; time and place of the next meeting of this Task Force.
3. Assurance that the public will be allowed to offer testimony on the importance of transparency and complete financial disclosure.
There is, however, a much easier solution to the current Assembly policy on budget secrecy. Simply agree to send HR 20 to the Assembly Floor for a vote of the complete Assembly. HR 20 seeks to make all budget information public and requires that changes in budgeting must occur in a public meeting. In addition, I join with Common Cause, members of the press and other good government groups in calling for the repeal of the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA). By simple adoption of AB 1129, the Assembly