The Senate and Assembly released member-by-member spending records this afternoon, weeks after The Bee and the Los Angeles Times filed suit against the Assembly in an attempt to force disclosure of current office budget and spending records.
Friday's release shows that both houses have concluded that the public has a right to see all or parts of current-year records regarding the spending of millions in taxpayer funds.
"As I have previously announced, I have asked Assembly Rules Chair Nancy Skinner to form a task force to study our options to modernize the Assembly's records policies," Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez said in a statement. "I am eager to receive the results of their work when we reconvene for next year's legislative session. I have also listened to concerns from members in both parties about the need to modernize how the Assembly maintains and shares information."
"I believe that we can take steps now to increase the accessibility of information as to how the Assembly operates. To that end, I have consulted with Assemblymember Skinner and we have directed the Assembly Rules Committee to begin posting the most up-to-date Assembly expenditures through July on our website."
Find the Senate's 2010 spending here. The Senate has not posted its 2011 information online.
Traditionally, both houses have published such data 12 months after the end of each legislative year - thus, 2011 records would not have been unveiled until the week after Thanksgiving 2012.
Analyzing current-year records will allow Californians to identify the Legislature's biggest spenders and determine how money is being spent in a year of fiscal distress forcing cuts in many state programs.
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino called attention to office records last month by claiming that had slashed his budget for casting the only Democratic vote against this year's budget.
When the Assembly balked at releasing office records, citing a legal exemption for preliminary drafts and correspondence to legislators, The Bee and Los Angeles Times filed suit. That litigation is pending.
This post has been updated to reflect that the records have been released.