After more than a week of blistering criticism, legislators have abandoned a proposal that would have made some portions of California's open records law optional for local officials.
Monday's state Senate vote on SB 71 means Gov. Brown gets the final of this year's budget-related bills without a provision he first proposed in January: nixing the mandate that state government subsidize the cost of local government costs to comply with the California Public Records Act (PRA).
"There was never an intent to undermine the strength of the Public Records Act, only to appropriately raise the issue of who should pay," said Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, during floor debate on SB 71.
The Senate's 28-11 vote on the bill marks a shift in strategy for Democrats in the upper house, who last week vowed to block the bill on its arrival from the Assembly. Senate Democrats had wanted, instead, to leave the cost savings provision in place until voters could consider an amendment to the state constitution next year.
That amendment, SCA 3, is now slated for Senate approval on Thursday.
Senate Republicans rejected the new bill for its many other budget related provisions. And some Democrats lamented the bill still suspends other state-funded local mandates, most notably domestic violence protections.
The governor is expected to sign the bill, along with almost two dozen other budget related bills, in the next few days.