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California Public Records Act

 Government Code 6250. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature, mindful of the right of individuals to privacy, finds and declares that access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state.

Government Code 6251. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the California Public Records Act.

Government Code 6252. As used in this chapter:

   (a)   "State agency" means every state office, officer, department, division, bureau, board and commission or other state body or agency, except those agencies provided for in Article IV (except Section 20 thereof) or Article VI of the California Constitution.

   (b)     "Local Agency" includes a county; city, whether general law or chartered; city and  county; school district; municipal corporation; district; political subdivision; or any board, commission or agency thereof; other local public agency; or non-profit entities that are legislative bodies of a local agency pursuant to subdivisions (c) and (d) of Section 54952.

   (c)    "Person" includes any natural person, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, firm, or association.

   (d)   "Public Agency" means any state or local agency.

   (e)    "Public Records" includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public's business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. "Public records" in the custody of, or maintained by the Governors office means any writing prepared on or after January 6, 1975.

    (f)    "Writing" means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, and every other means of recording upon any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, and other documents.

    (g)     "Member of the public" means any person, except a member, agent, officer, or employee of a federal state, or local agency, acting within the scope of his or her membership, agency, officer, or employment.

Government Code 6252.5. Notwithstanding the definition of "member of the public" in Section 6252, an elected member of officer of any state or local agency is entitled to access to public records of that agency on the same basis as any other person. Nothing in this section shall limit the ability of elected members or officers to access public records permitted by law in the administration of their duties.

This section does not constitute a change in, but is declaratory of, existing law.

Government Code 6253.

   (a)     Public records are open to inspection at all times during the office hours of the state or local agency and every person has a right to inspect any public record, except as hereafter provided. Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be available for inspection by any person requesting the record after deletion of the portions that are exempted by law.

   (b)     Except with respect to public records exempt from disclosure by express provisions of law, each state or local agency, upon a request for a copy of records that reasonably describes an identifiable record or records, shall make the records promptly available to any person upon payment of fees covering direct costs of duplication, or a statutory fee if applicable. Upon request, an exact copy shall be provided unless impracticable to do so.

   (c)     Each agency, upon a request for a copy of records, shall, within ten (10) days from receipt of the request, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the agency and shall promptly notify the person making the request of the determination and the reasons therefor. In unusual circumstances, the time limit prescribed in this section may be extended by written notice by the head of the agency or his or her designee to the person making the request, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. No notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than 14 days. When the agency dispatches the determination, and if the agency determines that the request seeks disclosable public records, the agency shall state the estimated date and time when the records will be made available.  As used in this section, "unusual circumstances" means the following, but only the the extent reasonably necessary to the proper processing of the particular request:

                (1)    The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or ther                             establishments that are separate from the office processing the request.

                (2)     The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records that are demanded in a single request.

                (3)    The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having substantial interest in the determination of the request or among two or more components of the agency having substantial subject matter interest therein.

                (4)    The need to compile data, to write programming language or a computer program, or to construct a computer report to extract data.

   (d)     Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit an agency to delay or obstruct the inspection of copying of public records. The notification of denial of any request for records required by Section 6255 shall set forth the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial.   

   (e)     Except as otherwise prohibited by law, a state or local agency may adopt requirement for itself that allow for faster, more efficient, or greater access to records than prescribed by the minimum standards set forth in this chapter.