In response to several local agencies recently announcing their “suspension” of the California Public Records Act, CNPA along with eight open government advocacy groups joined a statement declaring that the CPRA remains in effect and that no authority exists that allows the suspension of California’s Constitutional right of access to documents held by government agencies.
The letter further states that, “The public’s right of access remains and is crucial in times of crisis. Just as the government’s power is at its apex during a crisis, the importance of the public’s right to know how their government is wielding that power could not be greater.”
The need for the joint statement arises from a Los Angeles Times story that found that due to the coronavirus pandemic the cities of Fresno, San Leandro and Fremont are no longer responding to CPRA requests. The joint statement condemns, “moves by some government entities to abandon their obligations under the California Public Records Act and the California Constitution, and we strongly urge them to reconsider.”
In addition to CNPA the other groups joining the FAC statement are Californians Aware, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Open Vallejo, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists, Greater Los Angeles Chapter and Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter.
Additionally, CNPA joined FAC in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court that urges the court to continue to allow the public and press to access court proceedings and documents.