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AB-1491 Public records: exception to disclosure: public officials.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 03/25/2019 09:00 PM
AB1491:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1491


Introduced by Assembly Member Obernolte

February 22, 2019


An act to amend Section 69740 6254.21 of the Government Code, relating to courts. public records.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1491, as amended, Obernolte. Superior courts: sessions. Public records: exception to disclosure: public officials.
The California Public Records Act requires state and local agencies to make public records available for inspection by the public, subject to specified criteria and with specified exceptions. Among other things, the act prohibits a person from knowingly posting the home address or telephone number of an elected or appointed official, or of the official’s residing spouse or child on the internet knowing that the person is an elected or appointed official and intending to cause imminent great bodily harm to that individual or threatening to cause imminent great bodily harm to that individual, as specified. A violation of this prohibition that leads to the bodily injury of a public official or the official’s residing spouse or child is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony.
This bill would revise this prohibition to instead prohibit a person from knowingly posting on the internet the home address, telephone number, license plate, or vehicle description of any elected or appointed official, or the official’s spouse or immediate family, knowing that person is an elected or appointed official and intending to cause intimidation, harassment, or bodily harm to that individual or threatening to cause bodily harm to that individual. The bill would revise the criminal penalty for a violation of this prohibition to apply to violations that lead to the bodily injury of the public official or the official’s spouse or immediate family. By expanding the scope of conduct punishable as a misdemeanor or felony under these provisions, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would also make various nonsubstantive changes.
Existing constitutional provisions require that a statute that limits the right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest.
This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
The California Constitution requires local agencies, for the purpose of ensuring public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, to comply with a statutory enactment that amends or enacts laws relating to public records or open meetings and contains findings demonstrating that the enactment furthers the constitutional requirements relating to this purpose.
This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for specified reasons.

Existing law requires each trial court to determine the number and location of sessions of the court necessary for the prompt disposition of the business before the court. Existing law, in appropriate circumstances and upon agreement of the presiding judges of the courts, authorizes the location of a session to be outside the county, as specified.

This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 6254.21 of the Government Code is amended to read:

6254.21.
 (a) No A state or local agency shall not post the home address or telephone number of any elected or appointed official on the Internet internet without first obtaining the written permission of that individual.
(b) No A person shall not knowingly post the home address or address, telephone number number, license plate, or vehicle description of any elected or appointed official, or of the official’s residing spouse or child, immediate family, on the Internet internet knowing that person is an elected or appointed official and intending to cause imminent great intimidation, harassment, or bodily harm that is likely to occur or threatening to cause imminent great bodily harm to that individual. A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor. A violation of this subdivision that leads to the bodily injury of the official, or his or her residing the official’s spouse or child, immediate family, is a misdemeanor or a felony.
(c) (1) (A) No A person, business, or association shall not publicly post or publicly display on the Internet internet the home address or telephone number of any elected or appointed official if that official has, either directly or through an agent designated under paragraph (3), made a written demand of that person, business, or association to not disclose his or her the official’s home address or telephone number.
(B) A written demand made under this paragraph by a state constitutional officer, a mayor, or a Member of the Legislature, a city council, or a board of supervisors shall include a statement describing a threat or fear for the safety of that official or of any person residing at the official’s home address.
(C) A written demand made under this paragraph by an elected official shall be effective for four years, regardless of whether or not the official’s term has expired prior to the end of the four-year period.
(D) (i) A person, business, or association that receives the written demand of an elected or appointed official pursuant to this paragraph shall remove the official’s home address or telephone number from public display on the Internet, internet, including information provided to cellular telephone applications, within 48 hours of delivery of the written demand, and shall continue to ensure that this information is not reposted on the same Internet Web site, internet website, subsidiary site, or any other Internet Web site internet website maintained by the recipient of the written demand.
(ii) After receiving the elected or appointed official’s written demand, the person, business, or association shall not transfer the appointed or elected official’s home address or telephone number to any other person, business, or association through any other medium.
(iii) Clause (ii) shall not be deemed to prohibit a telephone corporation, as defined in Section 234 of the Public Utilities Code, or its affiliate, from transferring the elected or appointed official’s home address or telephone number to any person, business, or association, if the transfer is authorized by federal or state law, regulation, order, or tariff, or necessary in the event of an emergency, or to collect a debt owed by the elected or appointed official to the telephone corporation or its affiliate.
(E) For purposes of this paragraph, “publicly post” or “publicly display” means to intentionally communicate or otherwise make available to the general public.
(2) An official whose home address or telephone number is made public as a result of a violation of paragraph (1) may bring an action seeking injunctive or declarative relief in any court of competent jurisdiction. If a court finds that a violation has occurred, it may grant injunctive or declarative relief and shall award the official court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees. A fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) may be imposed for a violation of the court’s order for an injunction or declarative relief obtained pursuant to this paragraph.
(3) An elected or appointed official may designate in writing the official’s employer, a related governmental entity, or any voluntary professional association of similar officials to act, on behalf of that official, as that official’s agent with regard to making a written demand pursuant to this section. In the case of an appointed official who is a peace officer, as defined in Sections 830 to 830.65, inclusive, of the Penal Code, a District Attorney, or a Deputy District Attorney, that official may also designate his or her their recognized collective bargaining representative to make a written demand on his or her their behalf pursuant to this section. A written demand made by an agent pursuant to this paragraph shall include a statement describing a threat or fear for the safety of that official or of any person residing at the official’s home address.
(d) (1) No A person, business, or association shall not solicit, sell, or trade on the Internet internet the home address or telephone number of an elected or appointed official with the intent to cause imminent great bodily harm to the official or to any person residing at the official’s home address.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law, an official whose home address or telephone number is solicited, sold, or traded in violation of paragraph (1) may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction. If a jury or court finds that a violation has occurred, it shall award damages to that official in an amount up to a maximum of three times the actual damages but in no case less than four thousand dollars ($4,000).
(e) An interactive computer service or access software provider, as defined in Section 230(f) of Title 47 of the United States Code, shall not be liable under this section unless the service or provider intends to abet or cause imminent great bodily harm that is likely to occur or threatens to cause imminent great bodily harm to an elected or appointed official.
(f) For purposes of this section, “elected or appointed official” includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) State constitutional officers.
(2) Members of the Legislature.
(3) Judges and court commissioners.
(4) District attorneys.
(5) Public defenders.
(6) Members of a city council.
(7) Members of a board of supervisors.
(8) Appointees of the Governor.
(9) Appointees of the Legislature.
(10) Mayors.
(11) City attorneys.
(12) Police chiefs and sheriffs.
(13) A public safety official, as defined in Section 6254.24.
(14) State administrative law judges.
(15) Federal judges and federal defenders.
(16) Members of the United States Congress and appointees of the President.
(g) Nothing in this This section is not intended to preclude punishment instead under Sections 69, 76, or 422 of the Penal Code, or any other provision of law.

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this act, which amends Section 6254.21 of the Government Code, imposes a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest:
The need to protect the personal, private information of public officials and their families, while preserving the public’s right to access information concerning the conduct of the people’s business, outweighs the interest in the public disclosure of that information.

SEC. 3.

 The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this act, which amends Section 6254.21 of the Government Code, furthers, within the meaning of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the purposes of that constitutional section as it relates to the right of public access to the meetings of local public bodies or the writings of local public officials and local agencies. Pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the Legislature makes the following findings:
This act protects the personal, private information of public officials and their families while preserving the public’s right to access information concerning the conduct of the people’s business.

SEC. 4.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district under this act would result either from a legislative mandate that is within the scope of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, or because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.
SECTION 1.Section 69740 of the Government Code is amended to read:
69740.

(a)Notwithstanding any other law, each trial court shall determine the number and location of sessions of the court necessary for the prompt disposition of the business before the court. In making this determination, the court shall consider, among other factors, the impact of this provision on court employees pursuant to Section 71634, the availability and adequacy of facilities for holding the court session at the specific location, the efficiency and cost of holding the session at the specific location, applicable security issues, and the convenience to the parties and the public served by the court. This section does not preclude a session from being held in a building other than a courthouse.

(b)In appropriate circumstances, upon agreement of the presiding judges of the courts, and in the discretion of the court, the location of a session may be outside the county, except that the consent of the parties shall be necessary to holding a criminal jury trial outside the county. The venue of a case for which session is held outside the county pursuant to this section shall be deemed to be the home county of the court in which the matter was filed. This section does not provide a party with the right to seek a change of venue unless otherwise provided by statute. A party does not have the right to request the court to exercise its discretion under this section.

(c)The Judicial Council may adopt rules to address an appropriate mechanism for sharing of expenses and resources between the court holding the session and the court hosting the session.