Bill Tracker

AB 1479 (Bonta) Public records: supervisor of records: fines

Position:Watch
Status:Policy Committees
Summary:
Existing law, 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. Existing law requires an agency to justify withholding a record from disclosure by demonstrating either that the record in question is exempt under express provisions of law or that on the facts of the particular case the public interest served by not disclosing the record clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record. Existing law requires specified state and local agencies to establish written guidelines for accessibility of records. Existing law authorizes a person to institute proceedings for injunctive or declarative relief or writ of mandate in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce his or her right to inspect or to receive a copy of any public record or class of public records under these provisions.
This bill would require public agencies to identify a supervisor of records who shall review a determination by the agency that a request for records is denied. The bill also would make other conforming changes. Because the bill would require local agencies to perform additional duties, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The bill would also authorize a court that finds that an agency improperly withheld public records from a member of the public without justification, failed to furnish a properly requested record or a portion thereof in a timely manner, assessed an unreasonable fee upon a requester, or otherwise did not act in good faith to comply with these provisions, to assess punitive damages against the agency in an amount not less than $1,000, nor more than $5,000, that shall be deposited into the Public Records Assistance Fund, which is created by the bill.
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, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.

 

More Info:Legislative Website Info
Last Updated:April 13, 2017