One of the responses to Bell is AB 187, which awaits Governor Brown’s signature or veto. If it becomes law, state auditors will not only be able to investigate state government agency books, but also those of cities and water districts. Before the state can insert itself, however, the municipality has to be declared at high risk of fraud.

The bill has come a long way since it was first introduced, when it raised alarms in local government associations. However, the evolution of the bill managed to earn it lukewarm support of the League of Cities, which left it off of their list of bills they are advocating the governor veto.

The biggest change to the bill was a clearly defined process for declaring a government at risk of fraud, thereby offering a chance to prove the audit is not necessary, or define the scope of the inquiry if the audit is approved. That authority will now rest in the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

The bill must be signed or vetoed by October 9.

From The San Gabriel Valley Tribune:

Legislation expanding the powers of state auditor to examine the books of cities, counties and special districts “at high risk” for fraud, abuse and wasteful spending awaits the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill, by Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, is among many bills written in response to the corruption exposed in the city of Bell.

But some local retail water agencies and cities have been pushing for this bill as a tool to perform management audits of the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which they say has not been prudent with spending and wastes money on making their district look good through public relations campaigns.

Read the full article here.