The Democratic-led California Legislature has determined that its appointment calendars should remain private.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the State Senate and Assembly have denied a joint request from The Associated Press, the Bay Area News Group and the First Amendment Coalition to gain access to the appointment calendars of lawmakers and their key staffers.
The rules committees in both chambers claimed that the release of calendars would be “an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” which they say is protected by the Legislative Open Records Act. However, the governor of California and other elected officials have routinely released their calendars to show voters how public business is conducted, the news provider reported.
Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, said that his group is considering a lawsuit. He claims that the Legislature’s interpretation of the law affirms that public officials in the Golden State are “not really accountable to anybody,” according to the media outlet.
A recent column in the Long Beach Press-Telegram alleges that the Legislative Open Records Act promotes secrecy, and it allows lawmakers to make deals with campaign donors and special interest groups.
Approximately 40 percent of the 4,294 bills introduced in the most recent legislative session in California were sponsored or written by lobbyist groups, according to the op-ed.