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AB-716 Court access.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/26/2021 04:00 AM
AB716:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 16, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 716


Introduced by Assembly Member Bennett

February 16, 2021


An act to amend Section 124 of, and to repeal and add the heading of Article 1 (commencing with Section 124) of Chapter 6 of Title 1 of Part 1 of, the Code of Civil Procedure, relating to courts.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 716, as amended, Bennett. Court access.
The California Constitution vests the judicial power of the state in the Supreme Court, courts of appeal, and superior courts. Existing law requires the sittings of every court to be public, except as authorized.
This bill would require public access to every court to include remote access by a member of the public or the media, and would define “remote access” to include an audio stream on the internet or a telephone to observe court proceedings. The bill would prohibit a court from excluding the public or the media from physical access to the court, unless it is necessary to restrict or limit physical access to protect the health or safety of court employees or the public. The bill would define the term “media” and would also make technical, nonsubstantive changes.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The heading of Article 1 (commencing with Section 124) of Chapter 6 of Title 1 of Part 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 The heading of Article 1 (commencing with Section 124) is added to Chapter 6 of Title 1 of Part 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, to read:
Article  1. Open Court Access

SEC. 3.

 Section 124 of the Code of Civil Procedure is amended to read:

124.
 (a) Except as provided in Section 214 of the Family Code or any other law, the sittings of every court shall be public.
(b) (1) The term “public” shall include remote access by a member of the public or the media.
(2) The court shall not preclude physical access by a member of the public or the media solely because remote access is available. exclude the public or the media from physical access because remote access is available, unless it is necessary to restrict or limit physical access to protect the health or safety of court employees or the public.
(3) “Media” means any person or organization engaging in news gathering or reporting and includes any newspaper, radio or television station or network, news service, magazine, trade paper, in-house publication, professional journal, or other news-reporting or news-gathering agency.
(4) “Remote access” includes an audio stream on the internet or a telephone to observe hear court proceedings.