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328 pages
2nd edition (2015)




This comprehensive guide to all California law providing or restricting access to government and judicial records focuses on the California Public Records Act (records of state executive branch officials, boards and departments and local government agencies) but also covers the statutes providing access to records of the state Legislature, case and administrative records of the trial and appellate courts, records of the California Judicial Council, the Commissions on Judicial Appointments and Judicial Performance, the State Bar, and locally adopted sunshine ordinances.

The guide analyzes each statutory provision as well as its interpretive case law and attorney general’s opinions, and includes the full text of each statute and court rule.

Issues addressed in the Public Records Act and comparable provisions governing the Legislature and court system include:
• the common law and early statutes on access;
• the definition of key terms;
• the basic access provisions on inspecting and obtaining copies of records; • the hundreds of exemptions from disclosure protecting personal, business and governmental interests;
• informal approaches to gaining access, including a model Public Records Act request letter; and
• legal remedies and litigation. Also examined is the constitutional open government mandate added by Proposition 59 of 2004.

The paper guide contains a full topical index and table of authorities and a listing of all records retention and destruction statutes. The ebook edition is fully searchable.  It is written by Terry Francke, general counsel for the nonprofit public interest organization Californians Aware, with more than 36 years’ experience helping journalists, citizen watchdogs, attorneys and even government officials and employees understand the open government laws. Francke is also author of the other CalAware Guides on Journalism Law in California and Open Meetings in California.

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