Public Access Laws

News & Analysis as of

Body-Worn Cameras, the Prosecutor, and the Question of Public Access

BB&K attorney Gary Schons examines police body cameras from a variety of angles for the California District Attorneys Association’s Prosecutor’s Brief. The use of body-worn cameras by law enforcement officials and what...more

Amid Growing Concerns Over the Proliferation of ADA Lawsuits, Congress and the California Legislature Address Measures to Curb ADA...

Since 2004, more than 20,000 ADA lawsuits have been filed in the country’s federal courts. The number of ADA filings in state courts is unavailable, but likely runs in the thousands. Nearly one half of all ADA lawsuits were...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - February 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - State Water Project deliveries to cities and farms increased SFGate - Feb 24 With a bit more snow in the Sierra than in years past, California officials on Wednesday boosted the...more

Supreme Court Amendment Imposes Obligation on Practitioners to Review Certain Files for Non-Public Case Information

Through an order issued on January 29, 2016, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has made amendments to the Rhode Island Judiciary Rules of Practice Governing Public Access to Electronic Case Information (the “Public Access...more

Water and Land Part 2

Water and Land - In Part I, we discussed the lawsuit between the State of North Carolina and Alcoa which determined that Alcoa owns a 45 mile portion of the Yadkin River riverbed. State of North Carolina v. Alcoa Power...more

Appellate Court Affirms Circuit Court Reversal of PAC Opinion on OMA Violation

Last year, an Illinois Circuit Court overturned a Public Access Counselor opinion that found that the Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 violated the Open Meetings Act when it voted on the separation...more

Illinois Appellate Court Reverses Attorney General Binding Opinions on Open Meetings Issues

In Board of Education of Springfield School District No. 186 v. Attorney General of Illinois et al., 2015 IL App (4th) 140941, the Illinois Appellate Court upheld a trial court's reversal of two Illinois Attorney General...more

PAC Finds FOIA Violation over Redactions in Governor Rauner’s Calendar

The PAC recently issued a binding opinion finding that the office of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner violated the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act by delaying its response to a FOIA request, and improperly...more

PAC Actions Offer Guidance on the Scope of the Unduly Burdensome Exception to FOIA

In October, the PAC released a written response to a FOIA request that it denied because it would be unduly burdensome under Section 3(g) of FOIA. 5 ILCS 140/3(g). The request asked for “Public Access Counselor determinations...more

D.C. District Court Rules in Favor of Anonymity When Challenging a CFPB Civil Investigative Demand

Recently, the District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion recognizing a company’s right to maintain privacy when challenging a CFPB Civil Investigative Demand (CID). John Doe Company No. 1 v. CFPB, No....more

Coming Soon to a Workplace Near You: AODA Employment Standards

All organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario will be required to comply with the accessible employment standards made under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 starting on January 1, 2016....more

Illinois AG Again Rules on Closed-Session Procedures and Personnel Exceptions

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued a binding opinion finding that the Knox County Board Finance Committee violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) by improperly going into closed session and discussing...more

PAC Finds Student Discipline Records, Even if Redacted, Identified Students and Were Exempt from FOIA

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued a non-binding opinion that provides guidance on what constitutes a school student record as provided in the Illinois School Student Records Act (ISSRA) and...more

Illinois Attorney General Limits "Personnel" Exception Under Open Meetings Act

In Public Access Opinion 15-005, issued on Aug. 4, 2015, the Village Board of the Village of Blue Mound was accused of violating the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) for going into closed session to consider a contract with...more

PAC Opinion Finds Municipal Bank Account Numbers Subject to FOIA

Earlier this year, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued an under-the-radar advisory opinion that could have an impact on responses to Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. According to the non-binding...more

Disability Access – Application of Disabled Persons Act and Unruh Act – Service Animals

Seth Flowers, et al. v. Brinda Prasad, et al. - California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District (July 17, 2015) - The Unruh Civil Rights Act and Disabled Persons Act vary in their provisions. The Court of...more

PAC Upholds Board Action: No OMA Violation for Private Emails

In June, the Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued a non-binding opinion holding that board members of a school district did not violate the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when partaking in intermittent private email exchanges...more

Website Regulations Update: Public Accommodations Proposed Regs Further Delayed BUT State and Local Proposed Rules Due Out. . ....

According to the Spring 2015 Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) will issue no proposed regulations for public accommodations websites until least April 2016 — nearly...more

2014 Eminent Domain Year in Review & 2015 Forecast

At first it seemed 2014 had been a relatively slow year for eminent domain cases. But looking back, there was more activity than we initially recalled. There were few decisions that provided any dramatic shift in the...more

Can Hotels Legally Block Wi-Fi Hot Spots? The FCC Says No, and Fines a Hotel $600,000 For Doing It.

In a public notice issued this week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned hotels, convention centers and other businesses that it is illegal to willfully block or interfere with their guests’ Wi-Fi hot spots...more

California Supreme Court Grants Review of Coastal Act Decision with Takings Implications

In September 2014, the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District issued a surprising decision, finding that even if an applicant maintains that it is accepting imposed permit conditions “under protest” and expressly...more

California Supreme Court to Review Denial of Homeowner’s Private Beach Access

In the case of Lynch v. California Coastal Commission (D064120; Cal.App.4th 658; San Diego Superior Court; 37-2011-00058666-CU-WM-NC), the California Supreme Court has granted a petition for review of the decision by the...more

California Environmental Law and Policy Update - December 2014 #2

Environmental and Policy Focus - California drought-relief bill passes House: SFGate.com - Dec 9: On December 9, the House approved a bill designed to give state and federal agencies authority to move more water in...more

Coastal Commission’s Public Access Easement Found to Be A Taking

In a published decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District rejected the California Coastal Commission’s (“Commission”) finding that there is no rational nexus or rough proportionality between...more

Beach Access Case Nowhere Near Done

On Sept. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 968, legislation aimed at securing a public access easement or right-of-way at Martins Beach in San Mateo County. Located south of Half Moon Bay, Martins Beach is an...more

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