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Peter Scheer, Executive Director, First Amendment Coalition

Peter Scheer to receive Cal Press Foundation Award

The California Press Foundation will honor Peter Scheer of the First Amendment Coalition its Jack Bates Award. Scheer has been the executive director of the First Amendment Coalition since 2004. Before joining FAC, Scheer was editor and publisher of The Recorder, a daily legal newspaper in San Francisco; publisher of Legal Times, a Washington, D.C.-based […]

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thomas-peele

Journalists Thomas Peele & Caroline Titus named 2016 FAC Award Winners

First Amendment Coalition is proud to announce the recipients of the organization’s 2016 Free Speech & Open Government Award. Out of more than two dozen nominees, two contestants will be honored, one representing a mainstream news organization, and the other representing small-scale community journalism. What they share is their diligence in pursuit of access to public records […]

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A&A: Can ballot arguments be selected based on political content?

Q:  This case concerns two opposing ballot arguments filed regarding a county measure, both from bona fide organizations. The elections official decided to evaluate the “quality” of the two arguments, as a means of selecting one for publication. He did not consider flipping a coin or random drawing. He had no decision matrix or identified factors […]

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A&A: Are not for profit charter schools required to comply with the CPRA?

Q: Under the CA Public Records Act, are not-for-profit charter schools required to comply? Are any not-for-profit (public, private, charter, etc.) required to comply? A: I’ll address your questions in reverse order.  With respect to your second question regarding whether schools are subject to the PRA depends on a few things.  Generally inour experience, non-profit […]

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A&A: What is legality of reporting on contents of leaked documents?

Q: I have obtained leaked documents that appear to have been stolen from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee  related to the upcoming congressional races. The documents have not been made public. I do not intend to post the actual documents or any personal information (phone numbers, etc) but there are conversations in the documents that I […]

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A&A: Are law enforcement officers exempt from having their court proceedings made public?

Q: My question is regarding Superior Court records. Are law enforcement officers exempt from having their information of court proceedings (non-criminal) available to the public? A: Court records are subject to the First Amendment right of access, and can generally only be withheld from the public if a very high standard is met:  “Under the first […]

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A&A: Ok for court reporter to transcribe mayor’s speech at private-sector event?

Q: The Mayor is speaking at a Municipal League meeting tonight. A resident wants to bring a court reporter so that all of the remarks of the Mayor and others on any topic may be transcribed. Is this allowed by the First Amendment or otherwise? A: It sounds like a private nonprofit is sponsoring a […]

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A&A: Can I be charged for postage for CPRA requested documents?

Q: I made a PRA request and received a reply from the County Clerk asking for postage (I ask to have the documents e-mailed). Looking online, state agencies presumably charge for postage. I have made requests from other state agencies but I don’t think they have charged me postage for items sent. I know local government folks state […]

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A&A: CA Medical Board non-responsive to PRA request

Q: I am a volunteer patient safety advocate in California. I have been trying to get a series of document from the Medical Board of California (and their parent the Department of Consumer Affairs) through public records requests. I think I’ve only received one document, and it wasn’t the document I requested, and the document […]

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A&A: Is a school caretakers’s security camera subject to CPRA?

Q: In this case, the caretaker has a contract with a local school district to provide security services on the school premises. The security cameras are attached to the caretakers mobile home, which is on school property. Are the camera’s subject to CPRA? A: Under the California Public Records Act (“PRA”), public records —which include “any […]

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