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Sacramento Bee and LA Times File Joint Public Records Lawsuit

Publishers of The Sacramento Bee and the LA Times are joining forces to sue the California State Assembly to release detailed records of how it spends its money.

Here’s the backstory from The Bee:

The legal fight stems from allegations by Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino that his budget was slashed by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez as punishment for casting the lone Democratic vote against this year’s budget.

Portantino, The Bee and The Times, among others, submitted requests recently to the Assembly under the Legislative Open Records Act seeking records that could shed light on his allegations of punishment.

The Assembly Rules Committee released information about expenditures from years past, but it balked at producing documents related to this year’s office budgets.

The Assembly justified the initial rejection of the papers’ request by citing the California Public Records Act’s stipulation that “preliminary drafts, notes or legislative memoranda” are not open for public perusal. We’ll see what the courts say. As NBCLA’s Joe Mathews cautions, the last major state suit of this kind–when the Times sued then-Gov. George Deukmejiandidn’t go very well.

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