Asked & Answered
Asked & Answered

A&A: Can the City ban negative online posting by public employees, officials?

Have a question? Our Legal Hotline is free. Q:  I live in Tennessee, and my town recently adopted a social media policy that forbids any city employee, elected official, appointed official, vendor or volunteer from posting anything “negative” about the city on social media. Can you please take a look at this and determine if this […]

Continue Reading →

Do your city councilmembers handle email better than Hillary Clinton? It’s a Legal Hotline FAQ

For Hillary Clinton there was never any confusion whether to send an email via her private email account or her work email address because during her four years at the State Department she never used a .gov email account. Of course, the rules about how government officials were required to handle their emails were not set in stone, […]

Continue Reading →

A&A: Can I access documents from State License Board investigation?

Q: I would like to gain access to Contractor State License Board documents relating to a recently concluded investigation against me. I have read up on my access rights, but am hoping to be as fully informed as possible before pursuing that route. I am a builder in San Francisco, and the Contractors State License […]

Continue Reading →

A&A: Prof worried about free-speech rights regarding Facebook post

Q: I’m curious about the protection of my free speech rights as an untenured, racially underrepresented professor at a public university. I posted a comment about my encounter with a coworker, related to my views about racial micro aggression and the recent national unrest about law enforcement. I didn’t directly identify my coworker and privacy […]

Continue Reading →

A&A: Does CA have a public records ombudsman?

Q: I sent a public records request to the CA DMV and they were required to respond with 10 days. It’s been a month and have not yet had a response. Is there a public records ombudsman I can notify? A: Unfortunately, unlike some states, California does not have an ombudsman to help facilitate public records requests where […]

Continue Reading →

A&A: School board closed session “under the guise of labor negotiations.”

Q: Our Unified School District is always walking a very fine line when it comes to the Brown Act. At the last Board of Trustees meeting, the superintendent stated, and three trustees confirmed, that the district has come up with a plan to tackle the multimillion-dollar shortfall it's expecting for the next school year. The superintendent [...]
Continue Reading →

A&A: Protection against libel for Florida reporters?

Q: My company and I are being sued for defamation at state court in Miami, Florida. In discovery, the plaintiff has requested all emails between me and others that mention his name. As a reporter, am I protected by law from having to turn over such information? A: Florida does have a statutory newsgathering privilege […]

Continue Reading →

A&A: Is law enforcement body camera footage a public record?

Q: I would like to know if the footage captured by body cameras and their recording devices a public record? A: The anticipated rise in use of body cameras by police does indeed mean there will also be an increase in “records” that could be subject to open records laws in various states. In many states, police investigatory […]

Continue Reading →

A&A: Are a city manager’ meetings with his staff covered by the Brown Act?

Q: Recently I learned our City Manager approved the implementation of a significant change to a public fee-paid service without presenting it for a city council review or approval, thus also without ever notifying the affected public as a whole or the media of the change. Impacted residents were individually notified to comply with the change […]

Continue Reading →

A&A: Does the CA legislature have an open meeting law?

Q: It seems like neither the Brown Act nor Bagley-Keene applies to the CA legislature. What law governs the process through which the CA legislature, including committees, considers laws and informs the public of opportunity to comment at hearings. And are there laws that prevent a committee for adding a last-minute amendment (without notice) to […]

Continue Reading →