PUBLIC INFORMATION — You have until October 29 to let the California court system know, in writing, what you think of its proposed new rules on public access to its administrative records; some version will go into effect January 1.

The draft rules result from an initial reaction meeting in September between representatives of the Judicial Council and its administrative arm, of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, Californians Aware and the First Amendment Coalition, of court employee labor organizations, and staff leaders of the Assembly and Senate and their judiciary committees.

That meeting focused on the judiciary staff's initial draft approach, which was to borrow selectively from the California Public Records Act (CPRA), which has always exempted the judicial branch.  The other parties to the meeting generally thought the borrowing was too selective, and urged that the drafters simply clone the CPRA's language wholesale, leaving out only those sections having no relevance to court agencies or administration, and adding whatever narrowly worded exemptions might be essential to the courts' unique concerns for the administration of justice.

The draft now open to public comment represents court officials' reaction to those urgings. A series of future posts here will analyze the effects of the proposed rules.