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California Legislature Continues Battle Over Public Records Act


California Assemblyman Rocky Chavez represents San Diego's 76th district. Asm. Chavez is a republican on the Assembly budget committee.

Guylyn Cummins is a partner in the San Diego office of entertainment, media and technology legal group of Sheppard Mullin Richter Hampton. She specializes in First Amendment issues.


Outcries from the public and from media organizations have prompted the California legislature to step back from a plan that could limit public access to government records.

But their response has created a very confusing situation in Sacramento.

This morning, the California Assembly passed legislation to take out language in its AB 76 bill that would have essentially left it up to local governments to decide if they wanted to comply with public record access requests.

But the state Senate says it has a better idea. Senate President Darrell Steinberg is pushing for a constitutional amendment that will ensure public access and require local governments to pay for it.

Late yesterday San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman sent a letter to the city's rules committee proposing a San Diego Public Records Act.

If approved, the San Diego Public Records Act would be added to the city's municipal code and would require the city to: respond to PRA requests within 10 days, provide electronic records of the requested documents or provide a reason for denying a PRA request.

“San Diegans deserve transparency and accountability in their city government," Sherman said in a written statement. "This law will ensure that open and transparent government in San Diego will never be undermined by Sacramento.”

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