Legislative Calendars: Why A State Secret?

Nice piece on access to legislative calendars. Why the secrecy?

No Access to Who California Lawmakers Are Meeting With…

An interesting story on access to calendar items…

Officials from San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have thrown open their daily calendars, allowing insight into whom they choose to meet and how they fill their days doing the taxpayers’ business.

But in California’s state capital, even lawmakers willing to divulge their appointment schedules are barred from doing so — a remarkable thwarting of the public’s right to know, according to open-government experts across the country.

As previously reported, in late April, the rules committees governing the Assembly and Senate denied a request by the Bay Area News Group, the Associated Press and the First Amendment Coalition to reveal the appointment calendars of lawmakers and their key staffers. Citing the Legislative Open Records Act, the denial covered all lawmakers, including those who told reporters they were perfectly willing to reveal their meetings.

Since the denial, the Bay Area News Group has surveyed government watchdog groups, and gathered numerous examples at the local, state and federal level of elected officials who release their daily schedules. While it is easy to find such examples, it appears most often to be a matter of individual choice, because few agencies require disclosure. But public agencies that prohibit disclosure, as the California Legislature does, are virtually unheard of.