Right of Public Access: The public has a general right to inspect and/or obtain copies of public records maintained by state and local agencies pursuant to the Public Records Act (PRA). While many records are accessible, the PRA as well as other statutes may preclude disclosure of records including, but not limited to, specified personnel records, medical records, and records prepared in connection with pending litigation. The Department may need to review requested records to determine if an exemption applies before a record may be inspected or copied.
Public Records: A public record is any writing maintained by a state agency in the conduct of its official business. A writing means paper documents and electronic information.
Controlling Law: The California Constitution, California Public Records Act, (Government Code Section 6250 et seq.) and the Legislative Open Records Act. The Federal Freedom of Information Act (5 USC Section 552 et seq.) covers federal government agencies.
Fees: The Department is authorized to charge the requestor fees for copying records or extracting information. The Department will notify the requestor of the applicable fee and the requestor is required to pay the fee prior to receiving the requested records. Copying charges are ten (10) cents per page.
Response Time: Public records may be inspected at the Department during normal working hours if the records are accessible and not subject to an exemption from disclosure. Government Code Section 6253 requires the Department within 10 days of receipt of the request to determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records and to provide the records within a reasonable time thereafter.
Exception: Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) filed by certain employees are available for public inspection at any time during regular business hours. Please contact the Office of Human Rights and Advocacy Services at 916-654-1888.
Assistance in Identifying Public Records: A request for a public record should be specific and focused to the extent possible. The Department will assist the requestor in identifying records that contain the requested information. A public record request is not required to be in writing, but it is helpful in expediting the request. To assist in your request, a PDF Request to Inspect Public Record form are available in both English and Spanish that can be printed and mailed.
Last modified: February 8, 2021