Charter Cities and the CPRA
Q: Our local taxpayers group is seeking public records from our City. It is our contention that under Article 11 Section 5 of the CA Constitution, that the Charters of Charter Cities supercede the CPRA when it comes to what local records are available for view to the public. We believe that management of local public records are considered “Municipal Affaires” and with the exception of some criminal records, and therefore are not “Concerns of the State.” As a “municipal affaire” our City Charters public records provisions are protected by our Constitution, we believe that the public records requirements set forth in a city charter is the law, as long as it does not conflict with a “State Concern” or any other portion of the constitution. Is this correct?
A: The California Public Records Act (California Government Code Section 6250 et seq.) governs access to public information and records from local government, including information and records from cities. On the local level, all government agencies except the court system are governed by the Public Records Act. California Government Code Section 6252 defines local agencies (which are subject to the Public Records Act) to include the following: “a county; city, whether general law or chartered; city and county; school district; municipal corporation; district; political subdivision; or any board, commission or agency thereof; other local public agency; or entities that are legislative bodies of a local agency pursuant to subdivisions (c) and (d) of Section 54952.”