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California legislators would be required to post their office budgets and monthly office expenditures online under legislation proposed this week by a Republican assemblywoman.

Modesto Republican Kristin Olsen said her bill is needed because the Legislature often does not hold itself to the same standards of openness and transparency that it requires of other government agencies.

The Assembly lost a court fight last year after withholding office budgets as confidential documents. A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled that member-by-member budgets are public records and ordered them released.

Olsen's Assembly Bill 1730 would require the office budgets posted online to include all allocations and expenditures, including caucus supplements, travel expenses, office rent and staff salaries.

AB 1730 does not mention committee budgets, which often are used by Assembly members to help pay salaries of personal aides. Olsen plans to amend the bill to include committee expenditures, spokeswoman Jennifer Gibbons said.

Each Assembly member receives a base $263,000 office budget, which typically is supplemented by caucus funds for Republicans or by committee or leadership funds for Democrats.

The Senate's member-by-member expenditures are more formula driven and members do not currently receive monthly budget reports.

AB 1730 also would require bills to be publicly available for three days before a legislative vote and would require 24-hour online reporting of campaign contributions exceeding $100 that are received shortly before deadlines for passing the budget or acting on legislation.



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