Access must not carry a price tag

March 18, 2013 2:18 PM

From The Vallejo Times-Herald:

National Sunshine Week ends today. No, it's not an homage to Daylight Saving Time. The aim is to remind U.S. citizens that their government is required by the Freedom of Information Act to deliberate and take official actions in public view.

In California, that concept was expanded in 1968 when the public's access to most government documents was assured by the California Public Records Act. In passing the act, the Legislature proclaimed "access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state."

The act "generally provides residents the right to inspect records held by state and local public entities and receive copies of identifiable public records upon request," the Legislative Analyst's Office says. "Some public records, such as those related to pending litigation or that contain private personnel information, are exempt from disclosure under the CPRA. Public entities are permitted to collect fees to cover the reasonable cost of duplicating public records." The Legislative Analyst's Office is "California's nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor," according to its website.