Gov. Brown vetoes proposal for live FGC committee meetings

AB 1337 aimed to make Fish and Game Commission committee meetings available to public in real time.

SACRAMENTO — A proposal to provide live broadcasts of Fish and Game Commission’s (FGC) committee meetings was shot down by Gov. Jerry Brown, as California’s top executive vetoed Assembly Bill 1337 (AB 1337), May 14.

Assembly member Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, introduced AB 1337 in hopes of making the Fish and Game Commission more transparent. Meetings of the Marine Resources, Wildlife Resources and Tribal committees are not broadcast live; the commission’s quarterly meetings, conversely, are broadcast live.

“Public meetings of the full commission, where official actions are take, are already live broadcast. I believe broadcasts of committee level meetings should be reserved for only those times when there is extraordinary interest by the public,” Brown stated in his official veto message. “This is a matter which properly resides within the sound discretion of the commission.”

AB 1337 was originally introduced about 13 months ago but was placed on the inactive file in September 2017. Patterson’s bill was pulled from the inactive file on April 9 and found itself on the State Senate floor for a full vote exactly two weeks later.

Assembly members unanimously approved AB 1337 in May 2017.

The State Senate approved AB 1337 by 38-0 vote on April 23, allowing the bill to move forward to the governor’s desk.

The most recent legislative analysis of the bill (published on April 11) stated live broadcasts of the three FGC committee meetings would increase commission costs by about $120,000.

“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 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,’” the April 11 legislative analysis stated.

FishRap and The Log will follow-up with this story in our June 1-14 issue.

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