The proposal to legalize surrogacy in New York was presented as an unequivocal progressive ideal, a remedy to a ban that burdens gay and infertile couples and stigmatizes women who cannot have children on their own.
And yet, as the...
CIRM says the meeting was aimed at securing “information for critical decisions” about how it is going to spend taxpayers' money. That subject would certainly seem to be a matter of considerable public interest and justify a public need to know. As for asking for identification, that appears to be a clear violation of state law. The state attorney general's guide to California's open meeting law says agencies covered by the act are barred from imposing “ANY CONDITIONS” on attendance at a meeting.
As for the need to protect intellectual property, proprietary or unpublished information, that claim is simply poppycock. CIRM has not disclosed how many persons were in the closed-door meeting, but it is impossible to keep information secret when even more than a handful of persons is present, and most likely not even then.
Prop. 71, approved by 59 percent of voters in 2004, exempted CIRM from some aspects of the state's sunshine laws. It is not clear whether those exemptions apply in this case. But the state Constitution (section three) was also changed by voters in 2004 to guarantee the right of the public to access. That change was approved by a much larger vote (89 percent) than Prop. 71. It is our understanding that if conflicts exist in such cases, the measure with the larger vote takes precedence.
Jensen is on track. Due to Propositions 71’s administrative and financial isolation of the CIRM, the agency remains lavishly funded while the rest of the state government makes severe cuts. Despite this isolation, the CIRM is a public agency, and the public has a right to attend such influential deliberations.