Local government agencies regularly issue correspondence regarding the California Public Records Act (CPRA) which lists the statutes concerning the disclosure of public records. Starting on January 1, 2023, the CPRA’s statutory citations have changed. The California Legislature has moved all sections of the CPRA to a different section of the Government Code. This means referenced statutes contained in outdated letters may no longer be valid.
The CPRA was formerly found in Government Code sections 6250, et seq. However, in late 2021, Assembly Bill (AB) 473 was enacted, changing all legal citations to the CPRA, effective January 1, 2023. The CPRA is now located in Government Code sections 7920.000, et seq. Complicating things further, the updated version of the CPRA does not neatly correlate to the previous statutes. This means that any prior citations, including citations used in form or template response letters to members of the public seeking records from local agencies, must be carefully updated after review of the newer statutory references. While the legislative reorganization of the CPRA is not designed to alter the interpretation of the CPRA, there are minor changes to various statutes which may present issues in the future.
Local agencies responding to CPRA requests should consult legal counsel and make sure to update any form response letters to ensure proper citation to and substantive compliance with the CPRA under the new codification. As always, our firm is ready to assist with responding to CPRA requests. Even the simplest of responses to a records request can carry significant risk if not consistent with the provisions of the CPRA. The passage of AB 473 adds an additional challenge to providing legally adequate responses to requests for records received by public agencies.
If you have any questions regarding the CPRA, please contact one of the authors of this Client News Brief or an attorney at one of our eight offices located statewide. You can also subscribe to our podcasts, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or download our mobile app.