If you think the California Public Records Act is organizationally a patchwork mess—bloated, arbitrary, duplicative and labyrinthine—you’re not alone.  The California Law Revision Commission has set its sights on decluttering and reorganizing the statute to make it more user-friendly—without changing what it requires and permits both government agencies and information requesters to do.

“The Commission, “ staff counsel Steve Cohen informed CalAware and others recently, “ is commencing a study of the California Public Records Act (CPRA), and invites your organization to participate in that study.”

As directed by the Legislature, the study will be a non-substantive clean-up of the CPRA and related provisions. The objectives are to:
(1) Reduce the length and complexity of current sections.
(2) Avoid unnecessary cross-references.
(3) Neither expand nor contract the scope of existing exemptions to the general rule that records are open to the public pursuant to the current provisions of the CPRA.
(4) To the extent compatible with (3), use terms with common definitions.
(5) Organize the existing provisions in such a way that similar provisions are located in close proximity to one another.
(6) Eliminate duplicative provisions.
(7) Clearly express legislative intent without any change in the substantive provisions.

See 2016 Cal. Stat. res. ch. 150 (ACR 148 (Chau)), which is available at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160ACR148.

A staff memorandum introducing the study is available at http://www.clrc.ca.gov/pub/2017/MM17-05.pdf.

Further information on the Commission’s study is available at http://www.clrc.ca.gov/G400.html. At the bottom of that webpage, you can subscribe to be notified when additional materials relating to the study are posted to the Commission’s website. If you prefer, you can just tell us that you want to e-subscribe and we will take care of adding you to the list.

For a description of the Commission’s study process in general, please see http://www.clrc.ca.gov/Menu5_about/process.html.