Coalition News

Victory: California Appeal Court Orders Records Unsealed

A California appeal court today issued an important opinion affirming the public’s right of access to court records.  The Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles sided with FAC and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, finding that records in a civil case had been improperly hidden from the public. A unanimous three-judge panel cited the common law and constitutional right of access to judicial records, and found the superior court failed to make the appropriate

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California cities want public records act suspended

The League of California Cities asked California Governor Gavin Newsom to suspend open record laws that allow citizens to see how the government spends their money. The league, representing nearly 500 cities, wants to shunt the California Public Records Act requiring public bodies to provide information within 10 days. The league says they do not want to stop filling all records requests but to be granted the flexibility to respond given reduced staffing and closed

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FAC, SPJ NorCal Release Template for Requesters Facing Delayed Access

FAC and the Freedom of Information Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California chapter today published a new tool to help overcome barriers to public information. Some state and local entities in California have stopped responding to requests made under the Public Records Act citing the COVID-19 health emergency. The following is a template that journalists and members of the public can use to generate a response to any entity in California that

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FAC Urges California Courts to Ensure Public Access Amid COVID-19 Emergency

The First Amendment Coalition and 10 other advocacy organizations today called on the California judiciary to recognize and enforce the public’s First Amendment right of access to court proceedings as court operations change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Courts across California are halting proceedings, restricting access to buildings and holding some hearings telephonically, raising concerns that members of the public and the press, who are exempt from the state’s stay-at-home order, will face insurmountable

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Coalition Urges Compliance with California Public Records Law Amid COVID-19 Crisis

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some government agencies in California have announced that they intend to stop responding to California Public Records Act requests until the crisis passes. There is no legal basis for this extraordinary step. The California Public Records Act, Gov. Code § 6250, et seq., remains the law of the land, and Article I, section 3(b)(1) of the California Constitution provides that “The people have a right of access to information

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