Brian Baer Bee file, 2007

Sunshine bathes students touring the state Capitol – but a study has found that California lawmakers fall short of shedding light on official actions by making data available online.

The Buzz: California gets a D on open legislative data report card

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

A new report sheds light on one place California's sun doesn't always shine: the state Capitol.

Golden State lawmakers' efforts to make public information accessible on the Web got a D grade in a report card released by the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation this week.

The scores in the "Open Legislative Data Report Card" were based on assessments in six categories, including the completeness and timeliness of information available online and whether the formatting allows computer programs to "scrape" the data and put it in an easy-to-analyze form.

California was one of six states to receive a D rating. Eight states won the highest grade of A, while six flunked.

James Turk, a Sunlight Labs developer, said the foundation put together the report after its team "struggled with the often inadequate information made available" on state legislative websites.

"We hope states will use this report card as a guidepost to improve how they present what their legislature is doing online," he said. "Having this data released the right way is important for holding our state governments accountable."

The report was released during "Sunshine Week," a decade-old national initiative dedicated to celebrating open records and transparency.

– Torey Van Oot


The nonprofit California Endowment has launched a TV ad campaign to include about a million undocumented immigrants now ineligible for coverage in the coming health care changes. The foundation's senior VP, Daniel Zingale, said the results of the election – big wins for the Democratic Party – created a "window of opportunity" to change policies toward undocumented immigrants.


"A $10,000 degree is a good sound bite. But to be honest, it's flawed public policy because it's misleading."

TIMOTHY P. WHITE, California State University chancellor, referring to a proposal that would create a $10,000 CSU degree by connecting college-level classes in high schools, community colleges and CSU

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