Senator McGuire’s bill adding transparency to special districts signed by the Governor

Monday, September 17, 2018

Sacramento, CA – One of the most important Governmental transparency bills of 2018 was just signed into law by Governor Brown.

Senator McGuire’s SB 929 – the Special Districts Transparency Act –  requires every independent special district in California to create and consistently maintain a website with specific and detailed information including meeting agendas, clear information on the district’s budget and expenditures, compensation reports, information on how to contact representatives of the district and more.

California has over 2,000 independent special districts that operate a slew of vital services for millions of Californians, such as water, wastewater, fire protection, parks, and transit. However, less than half of all special districts have websites. This presents a significant transparency gap for the millions who are served by these districts.

“Millions of Californians have no idea how their hard earned tax dollars are being spent or what their district board is doing, let alone how to ask for help, because their local district doesn’t have a website,” Senator Mike McGuire said. “We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing this important bill that brings needed transparency to hundreds of districts that work on behalf of hard working Californians.”

In 2017, the Little Hoover Commission released a report on the state of special districts which cites a need for greater transparency and public involvement in special districts. Today, there is no requirement that special districts must create and maintain a website, which leaves many residents in the dark.

Under SB 929, districts would be provided one year to comply with this new law (January 1, 2020). The legislation was supported by the California Special Districts Association.