Assemblymember Jose Solorio’s Bill Threatens Public Access to Government Geodata - Background Documents

By Bruce Joffe

(a) The proposed changes to California's PRA

AB 1978


In bill text the following has special meaning
underline denotes added text
struck out text denotes deleted text

2007 CA A 1978
AUTHOR: Solorio
VERSION: Introduced
VERSION DATE: 02/14/2008
ASSEMBLY BILL     No. 1978
=================================================================
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Solorio
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FEBRUARY 14, 2008

  An act to amend Section 6254.9 of the Government Code, relating to records.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST

  AB 1978, as introduced, Solorio. Public records: computer mapping systems.

  Existing law, the California Public Records Act, requires state and local agencies to make their records available during regular business hours and, upon request, to provide a copy of a record upon payment of any applicable fee, unless an exemption from disclosure applies. The act provides that computer software developed by a state or local agency is not a public record, with "computer software" defined for this purpose as including computer mapping systems, computer programs, and computer graphics systems.

  This bill would further provide that, for this purpose, computer mapping systems include assembled model data, metadata, and listings of metadata, regardless of medium, and tools by which computer mapping system records are created, stored, and retrieved.

  Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  SECTION 1. Section 6254.9 of the Government Code is amended to read:

  6254.9. (a) Computer software developed by a state or local agency is not itself a public record under this chapter. The agency may sell, lease, or license the software for commercial or noncommercial use.

  (b) (1) As used in this section, "computer software" includes computer mapping systems, computer programs, and computer graphics systems.

   (2) Computer mapping systems include, assembled model data, metadata, and listings of metadata, regardless of medium, and tools by which computer mapping system records are created, stored, and retrieved.

  (c) This section shall not be construed to create an implied warranty on the part of the State of California state or any local agency for errors, omissions, or other defects in any computer software as provided pursuant to this section.

  (d) Nothing in this section is intended to affect the public record status of information merely because it is stored in a computer. Public records stored in a computer shall be disclosed as required by this chapter.

  (e) Nothing in this section is intended to limit any copyright protections.
 
(b) The explanatory statement issued from Assembly Member Solorio's office

Computer Mapping Systems Fact Sheet

Assembly Bill 1978 (SOLORIO)
Defining Computer Mapping Systems


Background
  • Section 6254.9(b) of the California Government Code currently provides that "computer mapping systems, computer programs, and computer graphics systems” do not constitute public records under the Act.
  • Unfortunately, there is no definition of what constitutes a "computer mapping system.”
  • Landbase mapping systems or Land Information Systems (LIS) include assembled model data, metadata, and listing of metadata that are an integral part of many computer mapping systems.
  • While the present terminology for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Landbase Information Systems (LIS) are recognized titles for computer mapping systems in today’s terms, the assembled model data, metadata, and listing of metadata can not be separated from computer code (or GIS/LIS software) without rendering the computer mapping system inoperable.
  • Clarifying the definition of "computer mapping system” will not reduce, inhibit or restrict public access to any public record.
Problem
Existing law lacks a definition of what constitutes a "computer mapping system." Computer mapping systems are not considered "public records" under the California Public Records Act.

Legislative Solution
This bill will clarify the definition of "computer mapping systems" under the California Public Records Act. Additionally, this bill would allow commercial interests, who are most benefited by these systems, to obtain the portion of computer mapping systems, developed by an agency, at a fee designed to offset the agency’s cost of maintenance for the computer mapping system.

Contact           
Hazel Miranda            
Office of Assemblyman Jose Solorio        
(916) 319-2069          

Sponsor
County of Orange
Holly Fraumeni, Platinum Advisors
(916) 443-8891
 
(c) A short list of people to whom you should send copies of your letter

Please send copies of your letter to:

Assembly (find your representative at http://www.asm.ca.gov)
Capitol Address
State Capitol, Room xxxx
Sacramento, CA 94249-0016

Senate (find your state Senator at  http://www.sen.ca.gov)
Capitol Address
State Capitol, Room xxx
Sacramento, CA 94248-0001

Honorable Jose Solorio
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 2169
Sacramento, CA 95814

Thomas W. Newton     E-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
General Counsel
California Newspaper Publishers Association
708 10th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
916-288-6015

Peter Scheer    Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Executive Director
CALIFORNIA FIRST AMENDMENT COALITION
534 4th St. #B
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-460-5060

Bruce Joffe    Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Founder, Open Data Consortium
c/o GIS Consultants
1212 Broadway, Ste 610
Oakland, CA 94612
510-238-9771


Published Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

Written by Bruce Joffe



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