Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed AB1819 into law. This bill will require agencies subject to the California Public Records Act to allow requesters to photograph records at no charge during inspection. Although it originally would have required agencies to allow the use of portable scanners, a late amendment only requires the use of copying equipment which does not touch the record.
The law also allows agencies to forbid the use of equipment which “would result in … [u]nauthorized 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.” On the one hand there’s no reason to include a clause like this unless the law is meant to apply to electronic records as well as physical records. This interpretation is bolstered by the fact that an early amendment limited the law’s application to “physical records” but then that was removed in later versions.
But there will be a lot of resistance to allowing requesters to make electronic copies and it will probably take litigation to sort this out. In any case, reaction to this law seems to be divided between people who see the value immediately and others who cannot imagine that agencies would forbid people to take pictures of things with their phone. But they will. And do. So I thought I’d close out this announcement with a couple of stories about it.
Continue reading Essential Public Records Act Improvement AB1819 Signed By Governor Gavin Newsom Yesterday — Requires Agencies To Allow Requesters To Photograph Records — And Probably To Copy Electronic Records To A USB Drive — Freaking Take That, Government Bad Actors — Like California Alcoholic Beverage Control — And Los Angeles City General Services Division — And Pretty Much Every Business Improvement District Repped By Soon To Be Disbarred If There Is Any Justice Attorney Carol Humiston