As Governor Newsom considers signing or vetoing hundreds of pieces of legislation before the Oct. 13 deadline, allow me to suggest another veto-worthy bill. As it relates to adding debt, SB 268 (Wiener) will once again limit government transparency and prevent the public from knowing the true costs of bond measures when they appear on ballots.
It appears that Wiener’s bill comes as a reaction to a good government and open transparency bill, Assembly Bill 195, by Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R – Big Bear), that required local officials to give more information on the cost of bond measures in the ballot summary.
Because local governments hated the idea of giving voters the true costs of the measures, Senator Wiener introduced SB 268. Here’s what CalMatters columnist Dan Walters said about the legislation now awaiting the governor’s signature (see https://calmatters.org/commentary/bill-reduces-ballot-measure-transparency/).
“Wiener makes no bones about his intent. He believes that Obernolte’s law would result in fewer tax and bond measures being passed and his legislation would allow officials to bury the required financial data in the fine print of voter guides, where it would be much less likely to be read.
“Thus, officials would be free once again to pump up their one-sided pitches in ballot summaries.”
California government at all levels should be doing more, not less, to ensure government transparency. If Governor Newsom believes in transparency, he should veto SB 268.