YEE KICKS OFF SUNSHINE WEEK BY HONORING OPEN GOVERNMENT PIONEER

Former Assemblyman Bill Bagley to be Honored on Senate Floor

SACRAMENTO – During Senate session today, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will kickoff Sunshine Week by honoring former Assemblymember Bill Bagley – an open government pioneer and author of the state’s main open meetings law.

Sunshine Week began in Florida in 2002 by the Society of Newspaper Editors, and has since become a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news, civic groups, libraries, nonprofit entities, schools, and others interested in the public’s right to know.  Last year, Yee passed SCR 8 to officially declare Sunshine Week in California.

“It is an honor to welcome Bill Bagley back to the State Capitol,” said Yee. “He has meant more to government transparency than anyone. He is someone who I have always admired and who has influenced me to focus my legislative attention on open government.”

Bagley authored California’s foremost transparency law – the Bagley Keene Act.

Within the Bagley Keene Act, Bagley wrote, “The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”

“While California may have some of the best open government laws, we do not have the best rates of compliance by state and local agencies,” said Yee. “It is disheartening to see so many cases in which members of the public or media outlets are denied government records.  As we recognize Sunshine Week, it is imperative that we find new ways to ensure public dollars are spent wisely and that the people’s work is done in the open.”

This session, Yee has introduced a series of bills to bring greater transparency and accountability of state and local government.

His legislation will stop secrecy at the California Public Utilities Commission (SB 1000), help fund the Cal-Access database (SB 1001), ensure taxpayers have greater access to public documents (SB 1002), and strengthen the Brown Act – the local government transparency law (SB 1003 and SCA 7).

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Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,
(916) 651-4008