CALPIRG testifies in support of the Public Right to Know Act

On Tuesday, CALPIRG testified in support of the Public Right to Know Act, which protects the public’s right to know about dangerous public hazards that are discovered during litigation.

On Tuesday, CALPIRG testified in support of SB 1149 (Senator Levya), also known as the Public Right to Know Act. The bill protects the public’s right to know about dangerous public hazards that are discovered during litigation.

Unfortunately, litigation settlement agreements involving a public danger, such as a defective product or environmental hazard, have been known to include nondisclosure agreements that withhold important safety information from the public eye. 

While secrecy is sometimes necessary to protect personal information or legitimate trade secrets, it is not appropriate when it keeps information about ongoing dangers from the public. Some real-life examples of dangerous info being withheld in this way include the addictiveness of Oxycontin and the existence of defective balconies at risk of collapsing.

The Public Right to Know Act, SB 1149, would make sure that information about dangerous public hazards are not hidden behind legal documents.  SB 1149 would prohibit settlement agreements that restrict the disclosure of information about a defective product or environmental condition that poses a danger to public health or safety.

The bill later passed out of the Assembly Judiciary committee with a 7-1 vote, and now heads to the Assembly floor.

Sander Kushen

Former Consumer Advocate, CALPIRG

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