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Pasadena Lawmaker Calls For Improved Public Access To Assembly Salary Info

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California State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) (L) shakes hands with a colleague in Sacramento. (credit: Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

California State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) (L) shakes hands with a colleague in Sacramento. (credit: Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

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PASADENA (CBS) — A Democratic state assemblyman wants California voters to be allowed to see current office budgets and spending projections — a right that the Assembly currently claims its constituents do not possess.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena), along with The Sacramento Bee and other media outlets, were denied a request under the Legislative Open Records Act seeking current office budgets for each Assembly member, the Bee reported Tuesday.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said on behalf of the Assembly Rules Committee that a provision covering “preliminary drafts, notes or legislative memoranda” and official legislative correspondence makes such documents exempt from public scrutiny.

“Therefore, records relating to budgets and changes to budgets of the members of the Assembly and Assembly Committees are not subject to mandatory production,” according to an official response.

The public can access salary information for lawmakers and staff on the Assembly website, but the information isn’t published until 12 months and as long as two years after the expenditure is actually processed.

Portantino — whose district also includes Pasadena, Arcadia and parts of Eagle Rock — made the comments after Assembly leaders in July warned him that his office was projected to overspend his budget by over $67,000 in 2011, the Bee reported.

While the budgetary dispute continues, the Assembly has restricted a number of office privileges for Portantino, including ordering office supplies and buying furniture and equipment.

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