Remember all the way back in late mid February when Assemblymember Laura Friedman introduced AB 700, which would have made the office locations and schedules of faculty at public universities and colleges exempt from release under the California Public Records Act? Well, yesterday1 it came out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee having been completely rewritten.
Previously, as I said, it exempted the office numbers and physical locations of faculty from release. This was both silly and unnecessary. But now it’s a much more formidable, much more reasonable bill. First of all it’s more narrow in that it applies only to researchers rather than to faculty in general. Second, it’s much more serious in its proposed effect, which is to exempt a variety of prepublication research-related materials from release.
And although I can’t stand to see public access to public records limited, I will admit that I can see that it’s not possible to carry on an effective research program if everyone in the world has access to your preliminary drafts, your working papers, emails between you and your collaborators on your work, and the other such things that would be exempted by this bill, should it pass.
And, I guess, I think it should pass. It does still contain an objectionable exemption for appointment calendars, which I don’t like. And although it contains a definition of researcher it fails to define research, which will have to be hashed out in court at some point. Also, it’s possible that much of this material is already exempt under the catch-all at §6255(a), but it’s better for everyone, requesters as well as agencies, to rely on that nonsense as little as possible. But overall it’s not a bad bill. Turn the page for a transcription of the proposed new language.
Continue reading Assemblymember Laura Friedman’s AB700 — Adding CPRA Exemptions For University Faculty — Was Completely Rewritten In The Assembly Judiciary Committee On Monday — Now Mostly Exempts Various Unpublished Research Materials Instead Of Office Numbers — And Although It Pains Me To Admit That It’s Reasonable To Add Exemptions To The Law — Most Of These New Ones Actually Make Some Sense