Lawmakers OK Sen. Bob Hertzberg plan directing local public agencies to make data more accessible

Bill requiring local government agencies to catalog goes to governor

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September 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Lawmakers voted for increased openness by approving a plan by Sen. Bob Hertzberg to require local government agencies to make public catalogs of key computer systems.

Gov. Brown now has 30 days to sign Senate Bill 272, veto it or allow the measure to become law without his signature.

“More must be done to turn internally gathered data into usable information available to the public under the California Public Records Act,” Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said today about Senate Bill 272. “A better understanding of data means a smarter government, and that translates into improved services and jobs and a stronger helping hand to residents who need it most.”

SB 272 would require local governments to produce a catalog of the major computer “enterprise” systems used to collect and maintain public information, such as reports on economic activity and public services. These catalogs would include who maintains the information, how it is stored and how often that data is collected. The bill takes care to protect public safety and infrastructure security.

Given that there are thousands of agencies within California’s 58 counties and nearly 500 cities that collect and store public information, Hertzberg said some agencies do not even know all of the data they have.

The goal for SB 272 is to better harness the power of locally generated data to help spur economic growth, tackle major infrastructure issues and engage millions of Californians in their communities, Hertzberg said. Properly gathered and clearly understood, data could also help empower local agencies and encourage the agencies to work together more effectively and to intelligently allocate resources to better deliver public services, he said.

“Smarter governments work better and inspire confidence in those they serve, strengthening the connection between government and the people,” Hertzberg said.

Recent amendments to SB 272 include exempting critical agency control and infrastructure systems; protecting cyber security, firewalls and certain sensitive records; ensuring that information exempted by the Public Records Act remains protected; and clarifying that the records themselves will not be included in the catalog.

Supporters of SB 272 include: The American Civil Liberties Union of California; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO; the Associated Builders and Contractors of California; the Building Owners and Managers Association of California; the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce; the California Broadcasters Association; the California Business Properties Association; the California Business Roundtable; California Forward Action Fund; the California League of Food Processors; the California Manufacturers & Technology Association; California Professional Firefighters; the California Retailers Association; the Commercial Real Estate Development Association; the Family Business Association; the Firearms Policy Coalition; the International Council of Shopping Centers; the Los Angeles County Business Federation; the National Federation of Independent Businesses; the San Diego Regional Data Library; San Francisco Technology Democrats; the Sunlight Foundation; the Urban Strategies Council.

In addition, a representative for the California Newspaper Publishers Association has urged support for SB 272.  

To read Hertzberg’s Op-Ed published Aug. 20, 2015 in the San Jose Mercury News explaining why he believes SB 272 is necessary, click HERE.

For more, including a Fact Sheet on SB 272, visit Hertzberg’s Web site at the address below.

Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map HERE or at  After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. More HERE or at ov/hertzberg


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