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California cities want transparency rules waived in pandemic

Added 04-01-20 02:22:02am EST - “Citing the unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, city officials across California are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend or delay numerous state laws, saying they can't comply with everything from environmental…” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “California cities want transparency rules waived in pandemic”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Citing the unprecedented challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic, city officials across California are asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to suspend or delay numerous state laws, saying they can’t comply with everything from environmental regulations to public records laws that give people a window into how the government is spending public money.

Noting that “city resources and personnel are stretched thin” responding to the pandemic, the executive director of the League of California Cities asked Newsom last week to “take immediate action to pause certain statutory requirements.”

The league that represents nearly 500 cities is seeking to delay the state’s constitutionally mandated California Public Records Act, which requires transparency in government decision-making and spending. The law requires public agencies to respond to requests for information within 10 days, though many routinely drag their feet with legally allowed extensions.

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Spokeswoman Kayla Woods said the group is not seeking to suspend all public records requests, but wants “flexibility to cities if their ability to respond to certain PRA requests is limited due to decreased staffing or closure of city facilities.” She said the delay would be limited to records requests “other than those created during, and relating to, the COVID-19 crisis.”

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