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2007 Apr 11 11:48

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Re: [vox] [fwd] California AB 1668 [mandate open document formats forthe California state government]
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Re: [vox] [fwd] California AB 1668 [mandate open document formats forthe California state government]

On Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 08:49:14AM -0700, Rod Roark wrote:
> On Wednesday 11 April 2007 07:57, Bill Kendrick wrote:
> > 
> > Seen on SVLUG...
> > ----- Forwarded message from Cyrus Mack -----
> ...
> > For those of you unaware, California AB 1668 would mandate open
> > document formats for the California state government. See the text
> > here -
> > 
> > http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1651-1700/ab_1668_bill_20070223_introduced.html
> This mandates usage of XML.  So storage in plain text format would be
> outlawed.  Way to go.  Documents such as the text of this bill would
> end up being stored in <pre> ... </pre> just to satisfy the law --
> which it actually is, except they forgot the ending tag!
> And by the way XML has nothing to do with assuring open formats.
> I very much support the underlying concept, but these legislators are
> idiots.
> Rod

The version of the bill referenced here is what was introduced, not what
may end up on the Governator's desk. This is only a starting point for

Generally speaking, a bill like this one must go through two committees
(one policy and one fiscal) in the Assembly, be approved by each 
committee, go to the full Assembly, and then repeat the process in the 
Senate. The bill can be amended at any of those stops along the way.

If it's amended in the second house it visits (in this case, the Senate),
then the bill must either be sent back to the original chamber for 
concurrence ("yeah, those changes are okay...") or to a conference 
committee, where a small(-ish) group of members of the Senate and 
Assembly designated by the Assembly Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem 
harmonize the Senate and Assembly versions and let both houses vote up
or down on the compromise version.

If all goes well, and the bill doesn't die somewhere along the way due
to deadlines, failure to be approved by a committee, being hijacked for
some entirely unrelated purpose, or the author of the bill withdrawing 
it entirely, THEN it goes to the governor to be signed, vetoed, or (if 
it's ignored without action long enough) allowed to become law without a 

Here's a (simplified) picture of the process:


Here's the nitty-gritty detailed version:


I see that AB 1668 has been assigned to the Assembly Committee on Jobs,
Economic Development, and the Economy. That committee comprises:

Arambula (Chair), Silva (Vice Chair), Caballero, Garcia, Price, and 

If your ideas of good government include having this bill become law,
opposing this bill, or requesting that it be amended to more
appropriately conform with Free Software/Open Source ideals, contact
these committee members (a fax generally works best), and encourage them
to see things your way. 

Contact info is available here:


It's also generally a good idea to talk to the committee staff to make
them aware of the issues being raised by the bill:

Chief Consultant: Toni Symonds. Senior Consultant: Les Spahnn. 
1020 N Street, Room 369.  Phone: (916)319-2090.

As the bill moves through the legislature, I'd advise you to keep
contacting the appropriate committee members and the Assembly Member or
Senator who represents you. 

Current status of a bill is available here:


(Yeah, I spent a few years doing this stuff for a living. Back then,
this info wasn't all on the Internet, and it was a *lot* harder. You
punk kids! Get off my lawn!)

Marc Elliot Hall
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