Where Are California Public Records Stored and How Are They Collected
A resident enjoys a statutory right for inspecting the public records in the state of California as per the state's CPRA or California Public Records Act. The act mentions that all associations, firms, limited liability companies, partnerships, corporations, or individuals in California or out of it can inspect public records in California
It was in 1968 when the CPRA was passed by the Californian State Legislature. The then governor of the state signed it, thus paving the way forward for government records being disclosed to the common public if requested unless the law exempts the records from being shared.
However, you have to give an explanation of why such a request is being made by you. In case a request is made by you to get the address of a person who is under arrest or victim's current address, it is important to mention if such a request for disclosure is being made for a governmental, scholarly, or journalistic purpose. It is also imperative to make a declaration that such information is not meant for selling a service or a product.
Records covered in the state of California
It is possible for you to see the public records of the following government bodies:
- State boards
- State Commissions
- Departments, divisions, and state offices
- Other state agencies and bodies
One is also free to see the public records pertaining to nonprofit agencies, which are local agency's legislative bodies, local public agencies, political subdivisions, districts, municipal corporations, schools districts, cities, and counties.
However, it is not possible to access the public records from its committees or state legislatures of California. You also cannot records from the state courts, which fall under the CPRA.
California public record types to be requested
Subject to the California Public Records Act, all public records belonging to the government bodies can be inspected by an individual. Public Records is a term that is defined for the inclusion of information pertaining to the functioning of any business of the public, which is retained, used, owned, or prepared by any local or state agency irrespective of the medium type it is saved in.
It is also to be noted that the term public records do not cover any personal information of a public officer that has no relationship with a public business' conduct.
Ways of request for public records in the state of California
There is no need to formally send a request in writing to obtain the public records required by you for inspection. In case your request for accessing the records is a routine one, begin the process by making a request informally for receiving the records over the phone prior to invoking the law. When the concerned agency information officer whom you contacted is unable to fulfill your request for information over the phone, they can guide you with all the essential steps to make a formal request.
While you may not have to compulsorily do so, writing your request for access to public records can come handy to procure your desired information. You should address this letter to the agency's public records officer. It should also include the following information mentioned below:
- Telephone number, name, email address, and physical address. You can also make your request anonymously.
- Date limits for your information search
- The record description, which you are looking for should be clear. In case you are unsure of the way you wish to go for record description, describe your objective to seek for such records with a request to the agency for assisting you in identifying all the relevant records
In case you have a feeling that the records you are looking for are not easy to find, you can provide a search clue, which you may feel will be helpful. Also, when certain parts of those records are exempted from sharing, you can still ask for those relevant records' non-exempted portions, which can still be shared.