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AB-1819 Inspection of public records: use of requester’s reproduction equipment.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 10/10/2019 09:00 PM
AB1819:v94#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1819
CHAPTER 695

An act to amend Section 6253 of the Government Code, relating to public records.

[ Approved by Governor  October 09, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  October 09, 2019. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1819, Committee on Judiciary. Inspection of public records: use of requester’s reproduction equipment.
Existing law, the California Public Records Act, requires public records to be open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency that retains those records, and provides that every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as provided. The California Public Records Act requires state and local agencies to make public records available upon receipt of a request for a copy that reasonably describes an identifiable record not otherwise exempt from disclosure, and upon payment of fees to cover costs.
This bill would grant a requester who inspects a disclosable record on the premises of the agency the right to use the requester’s equipment on those premises, without being charged any fees or costs, to photograph or otherwise copy or reproduce the record in a manner that does not require the equipment to make physical contact with the record, unless the means of copy or reproduction would result in damage to the record, or unauthorized access to a computer system of the agency or secured network, as specified. The bill would authorize the agency to impose any reasonable limits on the use of the requester’s equipment that are necessary to protect the safety of the records or to prevent the copying of records from being an unreasonable burden to the orderly function of the agency and its employees. The bill would authorize the agency to impose any limit that is necessary to maintain the integrity of, or ensure the long-term preservation of, historic or high-value records. By imposing additional duties and responsibilities upon local agencies in connection with requests for inspection of records, this bill constitutes a state-mandated local program.
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 a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 6253 of the Government Code is amended to read:

6253.
 (a) Public records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as hereafter provided. Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be available for inspection by any person requesting the record after deletion of the portions that are exempted by law.
(b) Except with respect to public records exempt from disclosure by express provisions of law, each state or local agency, upon a request for a copy of records that reasonably describes an identifiable record or records, shall make the records promptly available to any person upon payment of fees covering direct costs of duplication, or a statutory fee if applicable. Upon request, an exact copy shall be provided unless impracticable to do so.
(c) Each agency, upon a request for a copy of records, shall, within 10 days from receipt of the request, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the person making the request of the determination and the reasons therefor. In unusual circumstances, the time limit prescribed in this section may be extended by written notice by the head of the agency or their designee to the person making the request, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. No notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than 14 days. When the agency dispatches the determination, and if the agency determines that the request seeks disclosable public records, the agency shall state the estimated date and time when the records will be made available. As used in this section, “unusual circumstances” means the following, but only to the extent reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the particular request:
(1) The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request.
(2) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request.
(3) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject matter interest therein.
(4) The need to compile data, to write programming language or a computer program, or to construct a computer report to extract data.
(d) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit an agency to delay or obstruct the inspection or copying of public records.
(1) A requester who inspects a disclosable record on the premises of the agency has the right to use the requester’s equipment on those premises, without being charged any fees or costs, to photograph or otherwise copy or reproduce the record in a manner that does not require the equipment to make physical contact with the record, unless the means of copy or reproduction would result in either of the following:
(A) Damage to the record.
(B) Unauthorized access to the agency’s computer systems or secured networks by using software, equipment, or any other technology capable of accessing, altering, or compromising the agency’s electronic records.
(2) The agency may impose any reasonable limits on the use of the requester’s equipment that are necessary to protect the safety of the records or to prevent the copying of records from being an unreasonable burden to the orderly function of the agency and its employees. In addition, the agency may impose any limit that is necessary to maintain the integrity of, or ensure the long-term preservation of, historic or high-value records.
(3) The notification of denial of any request for records required by Section 6255 shall set forth the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial.
(e) Except as otherwise prohibited by law, a state or local agency may adopt requirements for itself that allow for faster, more efficient, or greater access to records than prescribed by the minimum standards set forth in this chapter.
(f) In addition to maintaining public records for public inspection during the office hours of the public agency, a public agency may comply with subdivision (a) by posting any public record on its internet website and, in response to a request for a public record posted on the internet website, directing a member of the public to the location on the internet website where the public record is posted. However, if after the public agency directs a member of the public to the internet website, the member of the public requesting the public record requests a copy of the public record due to an inability to access or reproduce the public record from the internet website, the public agency shall promptly provide a copy of the public record pursuant to subdivision (b).

SEC. 2.

 The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this act, which amends Section 6253 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:
It is in the public interest, and it furthers the purposes of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, to ensure that members of the public can copy or reproduce records with their own equipment without charge or delay.

SEC. 3.

 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 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.