Wilk government accountability bill fails to pass committee

SACRAMENTO –Today, Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, presented Assembly Bill 1566, which would improve the accountability of our state agencies, specifically surrounding the recent actions of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The measure failed to pass the Assembly Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review.

“The fact of the matter is no state agency should ever knowingly deceive the Legislature,” said Wilk. “The Rail Authority violated public trust and undermined California's constitutional balance of power by misleading the Legislature's ability to provide proper oversight on the executive branch as they continue to present dishonest information.”

Last October, The Los Angeles Times published an expose revealing specific documents were withheld from the Legislature by the California High-Speed Rail Authority's 2014 report. The withheld documents uncovered that the Authority had projected two different cost estimates to complete the first segment of the project. The number given to the Legislature for the cost of the Merced to Burbank segment was $31 billion. However, the private estimate presented four month before the published report had the expense at $40 billion, a change of $9 billion.

AB 1566 would have required a written report to be submitted to the Legislature by any state agency or department that includes a signed statement by the head of agency or department stating the factual contents of the written report are true, accurate, and complete to best of their knowledge. Additionally, an individual who presented false information would be liable for a civil penalty up to $20,000.