Fong bill will close loophole in CPRA

AB 289 passes Assembly with unanimous and bipartisan support, goes on to Senate

The California Assembly passed AB 289, authored by Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), which closes a loophole in California Public Records Act, on Thursday with unanimous bipartisan support.

The vote was 68-0.

The measure establishes an independent California Public Records Act (CPRA) ombudsperson, who will act as an objective referee when a state agency denies a CPRA request made by the public.

“In order to ensure our government is working on behalf of the public, we need to have a process that brings transparency as intended by the California Public Records Act,” said Assemblyman Fong. “Our state bureaucracies have abused the current system by denying legitimate PRA requests and daring the public to bring an expensive lawsuit against the state, which is not a fair playing field. Government exists to serve the public, not the other way around.”

AB 289 is supported by numerous media outlets across the state, as well as the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Kern County Taxpayers Association, and the League of Women Voters.

The bill is now in the California State Senate, where it will be pending referral to a Senate policy committee for a hearing.