County Bids and Contracts, Public Record
Q: I bid on a copier RFP for the County Court and lost the bid. I would like to know if I can request a copy of the bid and the contract and will they have to give it to me. I thought under the public record act they would have to.
A: While an RFP bid and resulting contract for public agencies in California are generally records that can be obtained under the Public Records Act, the situation you describe may be a bit trickier because the agency in question is a court. The Public Records Act applies to state agencies, which it defines as “every state office, officer, department, division, bureau, board, and commission or other state body or agency, except those agencies provided for in Article IV (except Section 20 thereof) or Article VI of the California Constitution.” Govt. Code Section 6252(a). California courts are provided for by Article VI of the California Constitution. This means that access to court records is not governed by the Public Records Act.
It is not entirely clear whether an administrative contract entered into by a court should be treated like other court records for purposes of applying the PRA or whether the PRA should require their disclosure despite the language quoted above from Section 6252(a). There are arguments as to why these kinds of records should be made available, but this issue appears simply not to have been resolved yet.
Of course, you could certainly request a copy of the bid and contract. The court might provide these whether it considers itself obligated to do so under the PRA or not. If the court refuses, however, on the grounds that it is not subject to the PRA, it is not clear whether or not you would be able to force it to disclose the records.