from the passing-the-savings-on-to-you! dept
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed off on some significant wins for state residents. He approved a bill banning the use of facial recognition tech in law enforcement body cameras — the first such statewide ban in the United States. Well… I guess that’s it really. To be fair, he hasn’t been in office all that long.
He also signed off on a mostly-worthless police use of force reform bill and Hancocked a bill that will prevent “hollowing out the middle class” by hollowing out the middle class — namely, freelance writers who will find it almost impossible to make a living under the state’s gig economy law.
To sum up, Governor Newsom may be doing more harm than good this year. Let’s hope things improve. One week after signing a bill that would eliminate (some) excessive public record duplication fees by allowing residents to take pictures of documents with their cellphones (rather than pay a public servant an exorbitant amount of money to run a copier), Newsom has restored a bit more opacity to the halls of power. Matthew Keys has the details:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a measure last weekend that would have required local governments to preserve copies of email records for disclosure under the state’s public records law.
The measure, Assembly Bill 1184, would have required local and state agencies to preserve communications sent by email for at least two years so that members of the public may inspect and copy them.
California government agencies have been arguing for years now that emails are not subject to the state’s two-year retention period. Since they’re not going to voluntarily retain records that many residents would certainly consider to be public records, the bill would have erased the faux confusion over government agency emails.
Instead of providing clarity, Governor Newsom went the other way, leaving it to individuals at individual agencies to make personal judgment calls on email retention… all in the interest of “striking a balance.”
Expressing concern for the taxpayers he just screwed out of records, Newsom claims email retention is cost prohibitive.
Gov. Newsom said he was concerned that codifying a preservation requirement for email could require additional personnel and data management policies, the costs of which would be passed on to taxpayers.
But of course taxpayers would be expected to absorb the costs. This much taxpayers understand. They fund the agencies creating the records. They fund public records response efforts. They fund the creation of these emails — the ones the governor has now decided they can’t have access to.
With this veto, agencies have the official blessing to delete emails whenever they feel like it. They can alter policies and practices to ensure as many emails as possible are destroyed, putting them permanently out of reach. Transparency and accountability are great… but maybe they’re just too expensive? This isn’t logic. It’s post hoc rationalization by a governor who’s decided there should be a bit more distance between the government and governed.