BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair


          SB 1002 (Yee) - Public records: electronic format.
          
          Amended: April 9, 2012          Policy Vote: Judiciary 3-0
          Urgency: No                     Mandate: Yes
          Hearing Date: May 14, 2012      Consultant: Jolie Onodera
          
          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.


          Bill Summary: SB 1002 would prohibit a public agency, when 
          responding to a request for disclosure of electronic documents 
          pursuant to the California Public Records Act (PRA), from 
          charging the requestor for data extraction, compilation, 
          programming, or data conversion, as specified. This bill would 
          establish the California Open Data Standard, which would provide 
          open format standards for public agencies that are required to 
          make electronic data available to the public.

          Fiscal Impact:
                 Major cost pressure potentially in the millions of 
               dollars (General Fund) across various state and local 
               agencies to purchase open source software and complete 
               conversion of electronic data into open format, as 
               specified.
                 Significant annual ongoing loss of revenue potentially 
               in the millions of dollars (General Fund) annually to state 
               and local agencies for lost reimbursement of costs due to 
               restrictions on cost recovery for PRA requests. 
                 Any impact to local agencies for increased costs or loss 
               of revenue would likely result in state reimbursement to 
               local agencies for costs mandated by the state.

          Background: Existing law requires a public agency to make 
          non-exempt electronic public records available in any electronic 
          format in which it holds the information or, if requested, in an 
          electronic format used by the agency to create copies for its 
          own or other agencies' use. Existing law also authorizes a 
          public agency to charge to the requestor the direct cost of 
          producing the electronic public record. The requestor of an 
          electronic public record must also pay the cost of producing a 
          copy of the record, including the cost to construct the record, 
          or the costs of data compilation, extraction, or programming to 








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          produce the record if certain conditions apply. 

          Proposed Law: This bill would provide that a state or local 
          agency may not charge a requestor of public information for the 
          cost of any of the following:
                 For data extraction, when the agency is exercising an 
               exemption. Extraction shall not include the redaction of 
               exempt information from an electronic record.
                 For extraction, compilation, programming, or conversion 
               of data to a different medium if the task is initiated by, 
               and performed for the benefit of, the agency.

          This bill would also provide that at the request of a person, an 
          agency may provide an electronic record in a format in which the 
          text in the electronic record is searchable by commonly used 
          software if the agency does not already have the electronic 
          record in a searchable format. The requestor shall bear the cost 
          of converting the electronic record into a searchable format, 
          including the cost of programming and computer services 
          necessary to produce the electronic record.

          This bill would also establish the California Open Data 
          Standard, as follows:
                 Whenever a state or local agency is required by law to 
               make electronic data/document available on the internet or 
               to the public, the data or document shall be provided in an 
               open format.
                 Defines "open format" to mean all of the following:
               o      The data can be located and downloaded by 
                 open-source software or public internet applications that 
                 are available for free, or both;
               o      The data or the text in the document is machine 
                 readable and can be searched, indexed, organized, 
                 categorized, and is otherwise automatically processable;
               o      The data/document is available without restrictions 
                 that would impede the use of the information;
               o      The data/document maintains the integrity of 
                 databases and all associated relationships or mappings 
                 between data or content;
               o      The data/document provides data granularity, 
                 definitions, and structured formats in the original 
                 quality available to the state or local agency.
                 Defines "open source software" as computer software that 
               is provided under a free software license that permits 








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               users to study, change, improve, and distribute software.
                 Provides that this section shall not be construed to 
               require a state or local agency to convert data or a 
               document into an open format or update its software or 
               hardware.

          Prior Legislation: AB 2799 (Shelley) Chapter 982/2000 requires 
          public agencies, upon request, to disclose electronic records in 
          an electronic format in which the agency holds information or in 
          a format that has been used by the agency to create copies for 
          its own use or for other public agencies.

          Staff Comments: This bill could potentially result in major 
          costs to the state, consisting of both costs to state agencies 
          as well as state-reimbursable costs to local agencies. 

          It is unclear under the bill's provisions what would be required 
          for agencies to comply with under the "open data standard" or 
          under what circumstances reimbursement for costs would be 
          provided. To the extent state and local agencies interpret the 
          provisions of the bill to require conversion of documents into 
          open format, this bill would result in major cost pressure in 
          the millions of dollars statewide to purchase open source 
          software and convert electronic documents. 

          Additionally, this bill limits the ability of state and local 
          agencies to charge requestors for the costs of data extraction 
          or for the costs of extraction, compilation, programming, or 
          conversion of data to a different medium if the task is 
          initiated by, and performed for the benefit of, the agency. If 
          an agency were to provide a document in open format per request 
          as authorized under Government Code (GC) section 6253.9(f), 
          although the same provision requires the requestor to bear the 
          cost of converting the document including programming and 
          computer services necessary to produce the record, it would 
          appear that the newly created paragraph GC section 6253.9(c)(2) 
          restricts the charging of costs to a requestor for compilation, 
          programming, or conversion of data if the task is initiated by, 
          and performed for the benefit of, the agency. It could be argued 
          that the agency would not be eligible for reimbursement of these 
          costs by virtue of moving towards compliance with the new 
          California Open Data Standard established under Chapter 3.6 if 
          interpreted as a benefit for the agency.









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