Prop 54 was enacted by the voters in the November 2016 general election. It adopted two constitutional amendments and two statutory changes dealing with public access to legislative proceedings, recordings of legislative proceedings, bill amendments, and voting on those bill amendments.
The first constitutional amendment enacted by Prop 54 added two, extensive, new provisions to Article IV, Section 7, of the California Constitution dealing with the public’s right to attend open and public proceedings and to audio and video tape them. It also imposed the requirement that the Legislature make audio/visual recordings of every legislative proceeding available on the internet within 24 hours of the proceeding taking place, and to keep an archive of at 20 years-worth of those materials.
The second amendment added to Article IV, Section 8, and dealt with amendments and the final form of bills and when bills can be voted on after being amended. It says, essentially, that all amendments must be made and that a bill must be in its final form for at least 72 hours before the Legislature can vote on it. One exception is where the Governor has declared a specific state of emergency that needs to be addressed.
The other changes Prop 54 made were to California’s Government Code. The initiative added two clauses to Government Code section 9026.5 dealing with audio/visual recordings of all public proceedings of the Legislature. The second change took place in Government Code section 10248, which codified in the Government Code the requirements that audio/visual recordings that legislative proceedings by posted on the internet and remain available for a minimum of 20 years on the Legislature’s website.
The final result has been that the public has the right to record legislative proceedings that they attend and that the Legislature must also record and promptly make available all audio/visual recordings. And further, bills are required to be in their final form for at least 72 hours before legislators can vote on them on the floor of either the Assembly or Senate.
You can read the full transcript of today’s audio here.