FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New guide provides comprehensive legal guidance for citizens, journalists and public officials for open records law in California
CARMICHAEL — CalAware announces that Terry Francke, the leading authority on open government in California, has published the first comprehensive legal guide for citizens, journalists and public officials who need to know how to obtain public records, how to respond to access requests, and how to manage public records. The CalAware Guide to Public Records and Private Information in California is a milestone in advancing transparency and accountability in state and local government because it makes a vast amount of authoritative information on public access law readily accessible. It covers statutes, case law and administrative regulations that apply to the executive branch and local governments of the State of California, and to its judicial and legislative branches.
Francke is an attorney with over three decades of experience explaining, litigating and drafting laws that grant the public access to information held by government bodies in California. He is the author of two other definitive books on open government, the first on the information gathering rights of journalists, and the second on the rights of the public to attend meetings of legislative bodies. In 1994 he helped draft major revisions to the Ralph M. Brown Act, and in 2004 was an expert contributor to the ballot proposition making open government a basic right of citizens under the California Constitution.
The guide analyzes each statutory provision as well as its interpretive case law and attorney general’s opinions, and includes the full text of each statute and court rule. Issues addressed in the Public Records Act and comparable provisions governing the Legislature and court system include the common law and early statutes on access; the definition of key terms; the basic access provisions on inspecting and obtaining copies of records; the hundreds of exemptions from disclosure protecting personal, business and governmental interests; informal approaches to gaining access, including a model Public Records Act request letter; and legal remedies.
The guide has garnered praise from lawmakers, state and local officials, privacy advocates, journalists and citizen watchdogs. State Senator Leland Yee calls it “a valuable tool in holding their government accountable.” Jodi Cleesattle, state agency attorney and former journalist says that it “CalAware's new is an invaluable resource for journalists and anyone interested in learning how to get access to public records in California.”