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AB-2853 Public records.(2015-2016)

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AB2853:v94#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 2853
CHAPTER 275

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

[ Approved by Governor  September 09, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State  September 09, 2016. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2853, Gatto. Public records.
(1) The California Public Records Act requires a public agency, defined to mean any state or local agency, to make its public records available for public inspection and to make copies available upon request and payment of a fee, unless the public records are exempt from disclosure. The act prohibits limitations on access to a public record based upon the purpose for which the public record is being requested if the public record is otherwise subject to disclosure, authorizes public agencies to adopt requirements that allow for faster, more efficient, or greater access to public records, and requires local agencies, except school districts, that voluntarily post public records on an open data Internet Resource, as defined, to post those public records in an open format that meets specified criteria.
This bill would authorize a public agency that posts a public record on its Internet Web site to refer a member of the public that requests to inspect the public record to the public agency’s Internet Web site where the public record is posted. This bill would require, if a member of the public requests a copy of the public record due to an inability to access or reproduce the public record from the Internet Web site where the public record is posted, the public agency to promptly provide a copy of the public record to the member of the public, as specified.
(2)  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.
(3)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.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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 his or her 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. 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 Web site and, in response to a request for a public record posted on the Internet Web site, directing a member of the public to the location on the Internet Web site where the public record is posted. However, if after the public agency directs a member of the public to the Internet Web site, 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 Web site, 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, 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 state has a very strong interest in ensuring both the transparency of, and efficient use of limited resources by, public agencies. In order to protect this interest, it is necessary to allow public agencies that have already increased the public’s access to public records by posting public records on the public agencies’ Internet Web sites to refer requests for posted public records to these Internet Web sites.

SEC. 3.

 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:
Since this act would authorize local agencies to make disclosures of public records by posting the public records on their Internet Web sites, thus making public record disclosures by local agencies more quickly and cost effectively, this act furthers the purpose of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution.