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Assembly Transparency Bill Signed Into Law By Governor

A San Diego assemblyman's bill to allow prosecutors to use information stored in their case management databases to run queries in response to public records requests was signed into law today by Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 2222, authored by Assemblyman Marty Block, D-San Diego, was sponsored by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

"Our office strives for government transparency, but current law was lagging behind technology when it comes to electronic records,'' said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "AB 2222 updates those laws, allowing us to respond to the many Public Records Act requests we receive every year more efficiently, while still complying with the statutes that protect victims and restrict information like an individual's criminal history.''

Increasingly, district attorneys across the state are converting to paperless case files and paperless record-keeping. Many of those case management systems contain a large amount of details about a case.

Previously, complying with Public Records Act requests potentially required the disclosure of information that other statutes prohibit.

The end result of the conflict was lawsuits for failure to disclose information required by the PRA; the expenditure of resources for inefficient searches for information which could be avoided through the use of the electronic case management system; and the appearance of secrecy rather than transparency, according to Block.

AB 2222 amends Penal Code Section 13300 to allow prosecutors to use their electronic case management databases to run queries and obtain the information that may be disclosed under the California Public Records Act.

"We will now be able to use our electronic case management system to respond to public records requests in a cost-efficient way, while complying with current law,'' Dumanis said.

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