Thanks to CSDA's efforts and the many letters of support sent by districts throughout California, SB 929 (McGuire) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on September 14, 2018. Thank you to all our members who responded to our Calls to Action!
In response to requests from the State Legislature and the Little Hoover Commission, and in furtherance of CSDA’s efforts to increase the awareness,
accessibility, and transparency of special districts, CSDA sponsored SB 929 (McGuire), which will require all special districts to have a website by 2020.
There have been discussions in the Legislature for years regarding a perceived lack of transparency when it comes to special districts, partially due to the sheer number of districts that don’t have websites. There are over 2,000 special districts in California, however less than half of those districts have a website. These statistics led the Little Hoover Commission, in its 2017 report on special district entitled Special Districts: Improving Oversight & Transparency, to recommend that the Legislature require every special district have a website.
While CSDA, in partnership with the Special Districts Leadership Foundation (SDLF), has encouraged districts to publish websites for many years, it was the increased scrutiny from the Legislature and the recent Little Hoover Commission report that led to CSDA’s decision to act rather than be acted upon. In late 2016, CSDA established a working group, consisting of districts of varying sizes and locations throughout the state, and spent over a year carefully crafting what is now SB 929 (McGuire).
CSDA’s working group was adamant that any new law should recognize the barriers that prevent some districts from successfully maintaining a website. As written, the legislation would allow these districts to exempt themselves by detailing their hardship circumstances in a resolution adopted in a public meeting. Such barriers acknowledged within the legislation, may include:
- Lack of access to broadband Internet;
- Insufficient staff to maintain a website; or
- Inadequate financial resources
Should you have any questions about SB 929, please contact CSDA’s Senior Legislative Representative, Dillon Gibbons, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, districts interested in applying for a SDLF website scholarship should visit the SDLF website at www.sdlf.org. SDLF’s scholarship goal is to provide scholarships to cover the cost of a special district website for 15 months and increase transparency and accountability among some of California’s smallest special districts.