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CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT Presented by Maribel S. Medina January 16, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT Presented by Maribel S. Medina January 16, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT Presented by Maribel S. Medina January 16, 2014

2 CALIFORNIA PUBLIC RECORDS ACT (Gov. Code § 6250 et seq.) The Public Records Act makes all non-exempt, state and local government agency records (including reasonably segregable, non-exempt portions of otherwise exempt records) in any form or medium subject to public inspection during office hours or copying upon payment of duplication costs Title of Presentation

3 Entities Subject to the CPRA State Agencies Local Agencies Some private entities Exclusions

4 What is a “Public Record”? (Gov. Code § 6252(e)) Any writing, Containing information relating to the public’s business, Prepared, used, retained in the course of business, …regardless of physical form or characteristics.

5 What is a Public Record? (cont’d) “…any writing…” Can be in print or electronic form: Includes any handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, photocopying, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored. (Gov. Code § 6252(f).)

6 What is a Public Record? (cont’d) “…information relating to the conduct of the public's business…” The mere custody of a writing by a public agency does not make it a “public record” under the Act. But if a record is kept by an officer because it is necessary or convenient to the discharge of official duties, it is a “public record.”

7 What is a Public Record? (cont’d) “…prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency…” The Act does not apply to records that do not exist, or are not in the public agency’s possession. No duty to create records in response to a request.

8 Public Records Exempt from Disclosure Preliminary drafts, draft notes or draft interagency and intra-agency memoranda Pending litigation Personnel, medical & insurance records that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy Closed session minutes and legal memoranda and other materials distributed in a closed session Records protected by the attorney-client privilege Records of investigations by law enforcement

9 Public Records Exemptions (cont’d) Trade Secrets Utility Records Catch-all (“public interest served by not disclosing clearly outweighs public interested served by disclosure”) ….and more* * There are about 29 categories of exempt records. If you print it out, the Public Records Act is maybe 26 pages long, and 23 of the pages are exemptions.

10 Assisting the Requestor Public Agencies have a duty to assist records requesters to identify records and information that are responsive to the request or to the purpose of the request, if stated Assist the requester describe the information technology and physical location in which the records exist Provide suggestions for overcoming any practical basis for denying access to the records or information sought

11 Timing Agencies have 10 days to initially respond (Gov. Code § 6253(c)) In some cases up to 24 days to respond in writing to requests; actual records must be provided

12 Litigation Any person can bring a lawsuit to enforce the right to inspect or receive public records. A prevailing party will recover its court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. Improper disclosure of records involving privacy rights may create liability. Criminal penalties apply to disclosure of some exempt records.

13 Thank You

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