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Bill that would allow requesters to make their own copies of public records reaches governor

The Senate and Assembly last week, unanimously voted approval of a bill that would allow CPRA requesters to use their own equipment, such as a cell phone, to copy public records.

AB 1819 by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, had the strong support of CNPA, and would allow requesters a way to copy public records without facing sometimes-steep duplication costs charged by agencies.

The measure was introduced to 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.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet taken a position on AB 1819 but has until Oct. 13 to sign or veto the measure.

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