There was quite a bit of news and push back about the trailer bill that would have dramatically altered the fee structure for viewing and obtaining court records in California. The bill was killed by the legislature on June 14, 2013. However, another bill was added to the budget bill, which was passed on the 14th. SB71 (or AB76) modifies wording in the California Public Records Act (CPRA).
Currently, the CPRA states “…requires state and local agencies to make public records available upon receipt of a request that reasonably describes an identifiable record not otherwise exempt from disclosure, upon the payment of fees to cover costs.” SB71 modifies CPRA so that state and local government are merely “encouraged” to make the public records available as per CPRA. SB71 also makes compliance with certain provisions of CPRA as “optional” rather than required – meaning agencies can opt out. The provisions deal with access public records, including court records. According to published reports this is a budget issue and the Department of Finance expects agencies who opt out will save the state tens of millions of dollars.
Another in-depth article is available from the Courthouse News Service at www.courthousenews.com/2013/06/18/58616.htm .
View SB71 or AB76 at www.leginfo.ca.gov/index.html . The bill specifically alters Sections 6252 by adding 6252.8, which in turn makes certain parts of the CPRA optional including provisions in 6253. The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor on or before June 30th, 2013