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Open Government Bill In Senate Panel This Week

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A measure to broaden the public´s access to government records in California will face its first legislative test next week. A senate committee is slated to take up a proposed constitutional amendment on Tuesday that would make it a fundamental right of residents to inspect and observe the business of the government.

Some government agencies oppose the proposed amendment. They say they fear the measure could endanger public safety, the privacy of government workers and the state´s ability to conduct some business competitively.

Proponents say, however, that the measure specifically allows for withholding information when there is proof that it is a matter of security.

San Francisco Senator John Burton is sponsoring the bill. The measure would be put to voters in November if approved by the Legislature. A state constitutional amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of the voters.