In his ongoing effort to publicize government spending records and prevent his office staff from being furloughed, local State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada-Flintride) on Monday submitted an amendment that calls for all State Assembly financial accounts to be immediately made open to the public.
Portantino's recent effort to publicize financial records comes in response to from Assembly Rules Committee Chairman Nancy Skinner, which warned that he needed to trim his budget by $67,000 or have his office staff between Oct. 21 and Nov. 30.
According to Wendy Gordon, a press deputy for Portantino, the amendment (HR20) went across the State Assembly's chief clerk's desk on Monday afternoon.
Gordon said the next step for the amendment would be to go before the Assembly's rules committee, which could happen as early as Thursday morning. Should it be passed by the rules committee, it would then go before the general Assembly for approval.
According to Gordon, Friday, Sept. 9, is the last day that any votes can be taken in Assembly before the fall recess.
With that timeline in mind, Gordon said that Portantino is hopeful that the rules committee will act as swiftly as possible.
"We're hoping it will pass sooner rather than later," Gordon said.
Portatino has claimed that his spending is not out of line with the rest of the Assembly, and has insisted he is being punished by Assembly Speaker John Perez for not following the Democratic party line on key issues, including his vote against the State budget that was passed in June.
In an effort to prove his case, Portantino has demanded that all assembly records be made public--a request that the rules committee has , saying that the assembly's letters and correspondences are exempt under the law.
Both the Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times newspapers have been denied in their requests for Assembly spending requests, which prompted their r in persuit of the information.
In addition to opening all Assembly budget and spending records, HR20 would also require that all office and committee budgets be approved in public, and that all office budgets be made equal.
Portantino told Patch that "right now, all assembly budgets are subject to the whim of the leadership.
"Office budgets are used as a tool to punish and reward," Portantino said.
Portatino alleges that his office budget was "arbitrarily" cut between the second and third quarters of the 2011 fiscal year, to make it appear as if he were over spending.
"Public policy should not be made by people who are afraid of being punished or trying to be rewarded," he told Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch. "We need to take the politics out of the policy making."
Patch has contacted the office of Assembly Speaker Perez and is awaiting comment.