Access to California public records on budget chopping block

From the First Amendment Coalition:

Californians have a constitutional right to view records filed in court cases. The Governor’s budget would condition one’s execise of that right on the payment of a hefty fee: specifically, a $10 search fee for every name, file or item of information that the search produces, regardless of the time spent on the search.
Although current law permits a charge for searches taking more than 10 minutes, the charge is rarely assessed because most searches take less than 10 minutes (and because some high-volume requesters, “gaming” the fee, break down large searches into multiple small parts). The new fee would apply to all searches and to all requesters (with a sole exception for litigants requesting records in their own cases). It would also boost copying charges to $1/page, well above the courts’ actual costs.
This increase is part of a trailer bill to the Governor’s budget, which means it will be voted on without any legislative deliberation or chance for public comment. It was proposed by the Administrative Office of the Courts and endorsed by the state’s Department of Finance.

Much more is available at the FAC website. Add your voice to the conversation and send Governor Brown a message OPPOSING his service cuts and fee hikes for access to public records.

First Amendment Coalition is a member of NFOIC.–eds.