DeSaulnier Bill to Reform Peer Review Process on Public Works Projects Sent to Governor

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Mark DeSaulnier

In a key step to bring reform and accountability to public works projects, the State Assembly unanimously passed SB 425 on a 75-0 vote today.  SB 425, authored by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), sets standards for assembling peer review panels in a clear and transparent manner. The bill will now be sent to Governor Brown.

“SB 425 represents an important first step in bringing greater accountability and transparency to major public works projects,” Senator DeSaulnier said. “Reviews should meet clear criteria before projects are touted as “peer reviewed”. This bill is a common sense reform measure, and it has enjoyed strong bi-partisan support in both the Senate and Assembly.”

“I look forward to working with the administration to restore the public’s trust in Caltrans.

Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly and Governor Brown have shown a commitment to reform by bringing in the State Smart Transportation Initiative to conduct an independent, external review of operations within Caltrans. Measures such as SB 425 will play a key role in changing the culture at Caltrans.”

SB 425 takes a number of steps toward legitimizing the use of peer review on public works projects in California. SB 425 defines peer review and requires administering agencies utilizing a peer review group on a public works project to develop a transparent process for selecting members of the review group. Further, agencies must draft and post online a charter for the peer review group describing the groups’ members, objectives, and aims.  Finally, SB 425 restricts the use of the term peer review in order to maintain the integrity of the process throughout the state. A project cannot be “peer reviewed” unless the group created by the administering agency meets the strict standards outlined in SB 425.

Website of Senator Mark DeSaulnier: http://www.sd07.senate.ca.gov/

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