Commission transparency bill earns approval of Senate Committee

The State Senate’s Committee on Natural Resources and Water unanimously supported Assembly Bill 1337 (AB 1337), June 27, setting up the proposal to be considered by other Assembly members during the current legislative session.

AB 1337, which would require a video recording of every public meeting of California’s Fish and Game Commission and its committees to be posted on the commission’s website, was approved by the State Assembly more than two months ago.

“The use of live webcasts, with or without interactive programs, to broaden public participation among those California residents who are not present at the meetings is a timely matter for many California agencies,” a legislative analysis of AB 1337 stated.

The bill specifically aims to require broadcasting of Wildlife Resources Committee, Marine Resources Committee and Tribal Committee meetings.

“The authors argue that the size of California makes it difficult for the average citizen to attend the committee meetings for Marine Resources, Wildlife Resources, or Tribal issues, and that live webcasts of all meetings would promote public participation,” the most recent legislative analysis of the bill stated. The authors further state that, ‘this lack of transparency undermines the purpose of the meetings, which is to encourage public participation and oversight of the Commission.’”

AB 1337, if passed by the State Senate and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, would help expand access of all Fish and Game Commission meetings – whether the full commission or its committees – to the public, regardless of whether they can attend a meeting in person.

The commission currently spends $9,700 to broadcast its two-day meetings live; one-day live broadcasts are $5,800. AB 1337 would require 13 more one-day meetings be broadcast (and later archived) for public viewing.

Assembly member Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, authored AB 1337.

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