Assembly committee unanimously approves bill to allow requesters to make copies with cell phones

The Assembly Judiciary Committee last week unanimously voted to approve legislation that would give a CPRA requester the right to use his or her own equipment to photograph, copy or reproduce any record upon inspection without being charged any fees or costs.

AB 1819 by the Judiciary Committee was passed out of committee on a 12-0 vote. The bill is supported by CNPA and would end the practice of state and local agencies using the cost of providing copies of public records as a means to delay and obstruct access to those records.

Under the bill an agency could prevent a requester from using his or her own equipment to make a copy of a record if the mechanism used to make the copy would damage the document.

An increasing number of agencies have used the cost provision in the CPRA to block public access to information. These agencies charge requesters exorbitant amounts before they will provide copies of requested documents which many requesters can ill afford to pay.

The bill moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee where it will be heard next week.