Search Results for: government entities covered

A&A: Does the CPRA cover private entities that do work for government?

 Q: I am a reporter  working on a story about a recent dog shooting by a police officer although animal control officers say they had the situation under control.  Reports were filed by both Humane Society animal control officers on  the scene when the dog was tasered and shot by the officer.  I understand one of the reports clearly calls into question the necessity of the shooting, but my request for the documents was denied

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A&A: Covered CA contracts exempt from PRA

Q: I thought it odd that contract negotiations with the CA health care exchange are exempt from PRA. Seems like some shady stuff is going on there. Here’s their legal response: We cannot release the proposal or the scorecards, as they are exempt from disclosure under California Government Code 100508. We can release the final contract, if you would like. Please let us know what we can do. A: Under the California Public Records Act, public

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A&A: Does the CPRA cover CA Energy Commission applicants?

Q: Tricky CPRA question regarding photos taken during a study undertaken by an an applicant for a California Energy Commission license. The company submitted a report, but CEC staff had many questions, and wanted photos, notes, data from the study, and to speak with the biologist who conducted it; staff requested a subpoena for the data and to have him appear at a workshop. The biologist appeared at the workshop and the applicant submitted the

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A&A: When does a non-profit fall under the Brown Act?

Q: If a city establishes an Association and it is registered as a nonprofit under 501(c)(6) does that Association fall under the Brown Act? If the Association does receive monies from the City under an Assessment is the Association under the Brown Act? If the Association establishes a new organization and is registered as a 501(c)(3)to become eligible for grants does that organization fall under the Brown Act? If the Association gives money to the

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Panama Papers: Transparency International calls for open transactions

The Panama Papers leak has provided open government advocates with hope that ways will be found to shine everlasting light on suspect financial dealings. Not only are off shore tax havens providing cover for criminal transactions, but financial companies are equally guilty. In addition, the United States government provides legal cover for shadow dealings: “In every state in the United States, one can incorporate a legal entity without having to disclose who controls the entity

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Know Your Rights: A Workshop Series

You’re Invited: Know Your Rights A webinar series by the First Amendment Coalition and Exhaling Injustice RSVP Exposing Injustices Through Public Records Date: Wednesday, June 8 | 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  In this session, open-government experts will offer an introduction to the California Public Records Act, and tips for using public records to expose injustices and hold public officials accountable. We’ll answer questions like: How can public records help you identify and correct injustices?

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A&A: Are Community College Faculty Senate meetings covered by the Brown Act?

Q: I believe Community College Faculty Senates are subject to the Brown Act?  If so, must these bodies disclose how each member voted on an item? I teach at a community college.  My program was asked to make some amendments to an item, otherwise an individual told us she would challenge the matter. We made the amendments. The indivdiual then actually went ahead and challenged the matter at a Faculty Senate open meeting. She also

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Senate committee defines ‘journalist’ causing hail storm of criticism

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to a definition of a journalist by a 13-5 vote in approving legislation for a shield law for journalists seeking to keep their sources confidential. “…the version to be debated on the Senate floor will cover journalists who had an ’employment relationship’ for one year within the past 20 years, or three months within the past five years, and someone with a ‘substantial track record’ of freelancing in the

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A&A: Is it legal to profit by selling information from public records?

Q: Thank you so much for providing this service! I am attempting to learn all I can regarding laws prohibiting or allowing the selling/profiting from public information. Specifically I am interested in the legality of websites, apps, companies, etc. charging members of the public a fee for access to information about sex offenders identical to the information already provided by national, state, and local registries. There are several different types of companies doing this: some

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Free-speech right covers national parks

People wishing to hand out leaflets or loudly speak their mind on religion, immigration or the death penalty at Independence National Historical Park or any other national-park site will have an easier time doing so based on a recent court decision. Philadelphia Daily News August 9, 2010 By Julie Shaw shawj@phillynews.com The ruling would allow small groups and individuals the right to spontaneously express themselves – whether by distributing pamphlets on God, lecturing on global

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COMMENTARY

Public officials’ love of secrecy is no match for the public’s love to watch government decision-making up close. In California, democratic voyeurism prevails. By Peter Scheer One of California’s more remarkable political inventions is the requirement that lawmakers do their lawmaking in the open for all to see. Call it the people’s entitlement to democratic voyeurism: Members of city councils, county supervisors and school boards (among other local legislative bodies) must not only vote in

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A&A: Co-op non-profits

Co-op non-profits Q: I live in a shareholder owned, non profit, stock cooperative.  When the board of directors chose to meet in executive session to consider litigation against a shareholder and did NOT vote in front of the membership to pursue it, is there any case or lawsuit you can refer me to where a decision by the court has been reached regarding the legality of such a meeting?  The board of directors did not

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A&A: When government outsources program are documents public?

Q: I have asked the city for a particular statistical report about their red light camera system. They have refused to provide the records, and have ignored my offer to pay (per GC 6253.9(b)). The requested report is one which a city can obtain by going to the website of their red light camera vendor, selecting the report from an on-screen menu of report types, then selecting the intersection to be covered by the report,

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A&A: Governing Boards with Public Funds

Governing Boards with Public Funds Q: I would like to know if governing Boards for co-ops that use public funds fall into the jurisdiction of the Brown Act or the Bagley-Keen open meeting act?  If so how the Brown Act applies to these governing bodies? A: The California Brown Act generally requires “legislative bodies” of “local agencies” (for example, cities, counties, and school districts) to hold their meetings open to the public unless a specific

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Free speech defense may fail in Florida retraction of Disney benefit

Some lawyers think that when Florida revoked Disney’s tax status for the company’s opposition to its “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the state violated its First Amendment rights. A government cannot retaliate against an entity for that entity’s exercise of free speech. (The Intercept, April 23, 2022, by Akela Lacy) Law professor Eugene Volokh, Reason, April 22, 2022, is skeptical that the free speech charge has lasting power given that Florida is stripping Disney of a

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Responses to Peter Scheer's Commentary on Vallejo's Bankruptcy

In response to Peter’s recent commentary on Vallejo’s Bankruptcy. For most cities staff compensation is the city’s biggest expenditure. There should be more room for citizen oversight and input. One of the most important aspects in need of close scrutiny are a city’s revenue projections. I would guess when Vallejo negotiated and approved staff compensation packages their revenue projections showed they could afford it. Most likely, the public that went along with the raises thought

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A&A: The Brown Act and non-government youth organizations

The Brown Act and non-government youth organizations Q: I need to know if there are any acts, like the Brown or Public records acts, that govern youth sports leagues. My daughters play for a league that has closed meetings and meetings that nobody knows about. A: As a general rule, the Brown and Public Records Acts only apply to government agencies.  Since the name of the organization is Santa Maria Girls Softball, Inc., it sounds

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Stimulus fund recipients post spending records online

Those awarded stimulus fund contracts are complying with government requirements to post the details of their expenditures online, so far submitting 112,000 reports to the data collection Web site. -DB NextGov October 14, 2009 By Aliya Sternstein Stimulus fund recipients appear to be complying with requirements to report their spending activities online. As of Wednesday recipients had submitted 112,000 spending reports to the federal government’s data collection Web site, according to the board monitoring stimulus

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Accessing Government Phone Records

Accessing Government Phone Records Q: I am researching a public records request.  It is my understanding, post Prop 59, that the public paid for cell phone and desk phone records of elected officials are available for review by citizens/news organizations, etc. and that privilege can not be invoked by a municipality or local government to redact the incoming and outgoing phone numbers from those records.  Is that correct?  If so – where has this been

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COVID-19: Sample PRA Response Letter

Some state and local entities in California have stopped responding to requests made under the Public Records Act amid changes to operations due to the COVID-19 health emergency. FAC, SPJ NorCal and a coalition of other advocacy groups issued a joint statement urging governments to commit to transparency and follow California law. The following is a sample response letter that journalists and members of the public can submit to any entity in California that has

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