California Governor Vetoes Transparency Legislation

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed a bill intended to shed light on billions of dollars in state spending and consultants who help companies win lucrative government contracts.

by News Staff / May 16, 2016
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Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday vetoed a bill intended to shed light on billions of dollars in state spending and consultants who help companies win lucrative government contracts.  

AB 1200 by Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, would have required individuals or entities to register as a lobbyist if they are paid more than $2,000 per month to communicate with state agencies and influence state contract awards. 

"Given that the laws regulating state procurement are voluminous and already contain ample opportunity for public scrutiny, I don't believe this bill is necessary," Brown wrote in his veto message. 

The Legislature passed the bill on May 2 with a vote of 72-0 and no lawmakers speaking in opposition. 

“Californians have a right to see who is trying to influence these massive purchasing contracts – and how,” Gordon said in a statement after the measure passed. “This legislation will help prevent backroom deal-making and shine light on the state procurement process that’s been too dark for too long.”

In March, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted to oppose the bill and sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to reject it, raising concerns that it would expand the commission’s mission to a “highly specialized area” of state contracts best overseen by the Department of General Services, the Department of Technology and other state agencies.

In addition to the FPPC’s opposition, the Department of Finance said the bill would cost the state roughly $1.3 million to manage the increased workload associated with lobbyist and lobbying firm registrations and report filings at both the Secretary of State’s office and the FPPC.

Samantha Young contributed to this story. This article was originally published on TechWire.
 

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