California bill would let cities decide on restricting public information

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Cities and counties could dramatically restrict the information they release to the public without explanation under a bill approved by the state Legislature and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.

The change makes it optional for local governments to comply with deadlines and other rules when they receive requests for public records. Current law requires them to respond within 10 days and cite reasons for needing more time or rejecting a request.

Brown sought to suspend that mandate in his budget proposal to save millions of dollars in reimbursements the state owes to cities and counties for following the law.

Open government advocates say the changes remove significant tools for ensuring that local governments comply with state public records laws.

City officials say they will continue to fulfill public records requests.