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RELEASE: Marc Levine's Legislation Protecting Access to Public Documents Unanimously Passes Critical Committee

Legislation Was Necessitated By Incumbent Insurance Commissioner’s Attempt to Automatically Delete Government Emails After Just 180 Days

March 23, 2022


(Sacramento, CA)--Yesterday, the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Assemblymember Marc Levine’s legislation, AB 2370, which will protect government documents from being deleted by unscrupulous public officials. AB 2370 requires all state agencies to retain government documents and emails for a minimum of two years. 

Levine’s legislation was necessitated by incumbent Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s attempts in late 2021 to make it official Department of Insurance protocol to automatically delete Department emails after 180 days unless archived manually. Lara’s attempts occurred in the midst of his ongoing pay-to-play scandal related to insurance company Applied Underwriters, and at the same time Lara was in court trying to block public release of documents and testimony from his staff about the scandal. A review of news stories about the scandal and an explainer video can be found here.

AB 2370 is part of a broader ethics reform package proposed by Levine, which would also require the Insurance Commissioner to publicly disclose all meetings between their office and any interested party (including lobbyists and insurance company executives) and mandate transparency from insurance companies about their investments in and underwriting of fossil fuel projects. 

“Ricardo Lara’s attempt to automatically delete his department’s email correspondence was an egregious violation of transparency and trust,” said Assemblymember and candidate for Insurance Commissioner, Marc Levine. “The fact that he did so while at the same time he was in court trying to block public access to documents that would reveal further details about his Applied Underwriters pay-to-play scandal is even more alarming. It’s time we had an Insurance Commissioner who defends consumers and stands up to the insurance industry. Ricardo Lara does the opposite. When I’m Insurance Commissioner, I’m going to hold not just insurance companies, but my own department, and myself accountable. Californians deserve nothing less from their public officials.”

AB 2370 will next go to the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee.