To protect and serve the common interests of its newsmedia members, to help members inform and thereby strengthen their communities, and to foster the highest ideals, ethics and traditions of journalism, a free press and the news profession.
The mission of the CNPA Governmental Affairs Committee shall be to enhance and protect the right to gather and publish the news as guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I of the California Constitution; to advance the interest of all Californians in the transparency of government operations; to improve the legal and regulatory environment for the business of publishing newspapers and to inform and educate members and the public of their rights and responsibilities under the law.
Each year there is a push to place more of these notices online only, but removing these notices from print publications eliminates the serendipitous effect that occurs as a reader is turning the pages of a newspaper. Public notices are designed to ensure citizens remain properly informed on key issues. They serve as an important revenue stream for print publications.
CNPA identifies legislation that impacts advertisements and requirements for the inclusion of specific information in advertisements. Most of the restrictions are on the business placing the advertisement; however, there have been recent attempts to hold the publishers responsible for the actions of businesses they have no control over or knowledge of. CNPA continues to fight to make sure that restrictions are reasonable and hold the proper bad actors accountable.
Access to information and the right of the people to be informed about the actions of their government is a pillar of our society. CNPA has been the guardian of the California Public Records Acts since its inception and continues to identify and fight against legislation that creates or extends exemptions to the Public Records Act. We have fought and continue to fight to expand access to law enforcement body camera footage and information such as police misconduct records.
CNPA identifies legislation that affects how the news industry functions and delivers the news to readers. Industrial relations has become the top legislative priority for CNPA since AB 5 was passed in 2019. Print editions remain the primary source of revenue for news publications and publishers face increases in costs that would put most publications out of business. CNPA has been able to obtain two one-year exemptions for the industry and will continue to fight for the industry.
The Bagley-Keene and Brown Acts require that state and local legislative bodies provide adequate notice of meetings, agendas, public access and comments to meetings. CNPA diligently identifies legislation that supports the public’s right to know and adamantly opposes any legislation that would decrease transparency.
Anti-SLAPP laws are designed to provide for the early dismissal of meritless lawsuits filed against people for the exercise of First Amendment rights. The acronym “SLAPP” stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. These laws provide a quick and effective resolution to suits that would otherwise have a chilling effect on free speech. CNPA identifies threats to these important laws and works diligently to protect them.
Your Voice Matters
SACRAMENTO, CA. — Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D- Baldwin Park) today announced that her Assembly Bill 323, the Save Local Journalism Act, was passed by the State Senate and State Assembly and is on its way to the Governor’s desk. AB 323 was voted off the Senate Floor and passed by the Assembly in the last few days of the 2019-2020 legislative session. The Senate passed AB 323 by a 39-0 vote; the final vote on the Assembly Floor was 60-2.
AB 323 by Assembly member Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) extended the exemption for newspaper carriers from the stringent ABC test used to determine whether workers are properly classified as independent contractors. AB 323 also requires the Department of General Services to identify all advertising contracts awarded by the state, which media sources received the contracts, and the amounts paid to each media source. This is intended to help the state as well as ethnic and community news organizations understand the inequities that exist for these news organizations with respect to the state’s ad contracting practices. The information will be used in future efforts to reduce these inequities.
SB 629 by Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) would have allowed a duly authorized member of the media to enter areas closed off to the public by first responders during a demonstration, march, protest or rally and create an accelerated process for a journalist to challenge being detained by an officer. The governor vetoed the bill, but CNPA hopes to bring it back in 2021.
SB 776 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), would have expanded the types of police actions that would be subject to the CPRA to include additional use of force incidents, sustained findings of wrongful arrests and searches, as well as incidents involving prejudice or discrimination on the basis of specified protected classes. It also would have required every person employed as a peace officer to immediately report all uses of force by the officer to the officer’s department or agency. Additionally, the bill would have imposed a $1,000 civil fine per day for each day beyond 30 days that records subject to disclosure are not disclosed and would have entitled a requester who successfully sued for the release of records to obtain damages equal to twice the requester’s reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.
AB 3035 by Assembly member Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), was sponsored by the California State Sheriff’s Association, which claimed that one newspaper charged $9,000 to publish the notice making it difficult for local agencies strapped for revenue to pay the cost. This bill would also have allowed law enforcement agencies to post public notices on their websites or social media before euthanizing seized birds and animals was pulled from the calendar of the Senate Public Safety Committee and will not be moving forward.
AB 2372 by Assembly member Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) would have prohibited any report or notes pertaining to an autopsy report from being released, except to the family or next of kin of the victim/deceased, only after the investigation or prosecution was complete. As amended, the only other exception would be by a court order.
The bill was sponsored by the County of Ventura, which claims the bill is necessary to protect the privacy of victims and their families. The bill would, however, improperly shift the burden from agencies to the public to demonstrate why information should be available, even in circumstances of police shootings or COVID-19. CNPA strongly opposed this legislation, which died in the Assembly Public Safety Committee. Assembly member Irwin is passionate about the subject and it is expected to reintroduce the measure.