Sacramento reporters Juliet Williams and Hannah Dreier have won a Freedom of Information Award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California chapter. The NMG members won for their nine-month investigation of how frequently members of that state’s Assembly change their vote from the one they initially cast.
California lawmakers may change or add their votes on legislation, as long as that would not change the vote’s outcome. Williams and Dreier collected information from the chamber’s daily files, put it in a spreadsheet and analyzed it to show how often the deceptive practice occurred and which politicians did it most. The two found Assembly members changed their votes a stunning 5,000 times in last year’s nine-month legislative session.
Their findings resulted in calls that the practice be abolished and pledges by newly elected lawmakers that they would limit how much they change their votes. Williams and Dreier will be honored at a March 12 awards banquet. Congratulations to both of them!