Facing a growing outcry, California Gov. Jerry Brown has abandoned a plan that threatened to reduce public access to government records, says the Los Angeles Times. Brown had been poised to sign a measure, passed by the Legislature as part of the budget last week, that would have freed local governments from requirements to provide records to Californians quickly and in electronic form.
Brown sought the change because making compliance optional would remove the state’s obligation to reimburse local authorities for their efforts, potentially saving the state tens of millions of dollars. The Legislature’s leaders reversed course in the wake of protests from news organizations, open-government groups and others across the state, and Brown followed suit. Opponents argued that access to public documents is essential to holding governments accountable.