Support of SB 218 (Yee, D-San Francisco) Amendment to
California Public Records Act

AS-2894-09/FGA

ATTACHMENT TO AS-2894-09/FGA

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) support, if
amended, SB 218 (Yee, D-San Francisco), Amendments to the California Public Records Act (CPRA), which amends the California Public Records Act to include auxiliary organizations that receive public funds or perform a governmental function on behalf of the California Community Colleges (CCC), the California State University (CSU) or the University of California (UC); and be it further

RESOLVED: That the requested amendment would explicitly protect the donor records of those who
request anonymity; and be it further

RESOLVED: This resolution be sent to the Chancellor, Board of Trustees, campus presidents, campus
senates, the California Faculty Association, Senator Leland Yee, and other members of
the Senate Judiciary Committee.

RATIONALE: In 1999, the Fresno Bee was denied information requested of California
State University Fresno under the CPRA, concerning the identity of individuals and companies that purchased luxury suites at the Save Mart Center Arena which opened in
2001. The suites were obtained in exchange for gifts to the university’s foundation. The
suites were awarded for a specific number of years under licensing agreements between
donors and the nonprofit corporate association running the Center. In denying the
request, the association and foundation argued that they are not state agencies as defined by the CPRA, and are therefore not subject to its provisions. A trial court ordered the entities to disclose the information, but the 4th District California Appellate Court
overturned the action on appeal. In its opinion, the appeals court argued that the CPRA was not written broadly enough to include either the nonprofit corporate association or the foundation in the definition of a state agency. The court pointed out, however, that their conclusion seemed to be in direct conflict with the intent of the CPRA, to “safeguard the accountability of government to the public.” The court also pointed out the disconnect between the narrow defined applicability of the CPRA and its broader intent, to safeguard the public. The court ultimately stated that in many ways the association can be characterized as a state controlled corporation that should be subject to the CPRA, but that rewriting the statute was a legislative responsibility.

SB 218 responds to the court’s assertion that rewriting the statute is a legislative
responsibility by amending the CPRA to include auxiliary organizations that receive
public funds or perform a governmental function on behalf of the California Community
Colleges, the California State University, or the University of California. SB 218 will
promote accountability and transparency in pubic institutions of higher education in
California. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Faculty Association and the California Newspaper Publishers Association. It will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 12, 2009.

Sources:
SB 218

March 27, 2009 Letter to The Honorable Leland Yee from California Newspaper
Publishers Association

“Legislation will bring greater transparency, protect whistleblowers, reign executive
compensation,” Press release, Office of Senator Leland Yee

E.J. Schultz, “Fresno State case leads to push to add open records,” Sacramento Bee
Online, Tuesday, March 3, 2009

California State University, Fresno Assn., Inc. v. Superior Court (2001) 90 Cal. App. 4th
810.

Approved – May 7-8, 2009



 
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