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Public Access Bill Introduced

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State Senate leader John Burton has reintroduced a constitutional amendment designed to bolster public access to government meetings and records.

The measure passed the Senate in June, but it stalled after Republicans refused to grant deadline waivers that would have allowed it to be voted on by the Assembly during the last days of the Legislature´s 2002 session.

The amendment would put into the constitution the stipulation that the public has a fundamental right to attend government meetings and inspect government records, with some exceptions.

California has a series of open government laws already on the books, but supporters of the amendment say those statutes have been eroded over the years by court decisions and efforts by government officials to block access to records.