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Smart Voter
State of California November 2, 2004 Election
Proposition 59
Public Records, Open Meetings
State of California

Legislative Constitutional Amendment

9,322,156 / 83.3% Yes votes ...... 1,867,161 / 16.7% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Dec 6 4:02pm, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (24035/24035)
Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Official Information | Arguments |

Shall the Constitution be amended to include public's right of access to meetings of government bodies and writings of government officials while preserving specified constitutional rights and retaining existing exclusions for certain meetings and records?

Summary Prepared by Attorney General:
Measure amends Constitution to:
  • Provide right of public access to meetings of government bodies and writings of government officials.
  • Provide that statutes and rules furthering public access shall be broadly construed, or narrowly construed if limiting access.
  • Require future statutes and rules limiting access to contain findings justifying necessity of those limitations.
  • Preserve constitutional rights including rights of privacy, due process, equal protection; expressly preserves existing constitutional and statutory limitations restricting access to certain meetings and records of government bodies and officials, including law enforcement and prosecution records.

Exempts Legislature's records and meetings.

Fiscal Impact from Legislative Analyst:
Potential minor annual state and local government costs to make additional information available to the public.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote of this measure means:
Californians would have a constitutional right of access to government information. A government entity would have to demonstrate to a somewhat greater extent why information requested by the public should be kept private.

A NO vote of this measure means:
Access to government information would continue to be governed by existing laws.

Official Sources of Information
Arguments Submitted to Secretary of State

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition 59:
California's government--all three branches, statewide and local--should be as transparent as possible to the public it asks for funding, power, and trust. But too often officials and judges choose secrecy over disclosure. Proposition 59 would make transparency a constitutional duty owed to the people, to whom officials are accountable.

Full Text of Argument In Favor

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition 59:
The press and public must, indeed, have access to the workings of state and local governments to help ensure accountability; however, the question is whether Propostion 59 goes far enough in guaranteeing that critical access.

Full Text of Argument Against

Contact FOR Proposition 59:
Terry Francke
Californians Aware
2218 Homewood Way
Carmichael, CA 95608

Contact AGAINST Proposition 59:
Gary B. Wesley
Attorney at Law
707 Continental Circle
Mountain View, CA 94040

  Official Information

Secretary of State

Campaign Finance Information Legislative Analysts's Office Nonpartisan Information

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:39 PST
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