Attorney General Jerry Brown is sponsoring a bill, AB520 (text and legislative history) that would let government agencies and local governments file petitions to have people declared “vexatious requestors” of public records.

An agency or local government would have to allege that the requestor was seeking records for an “improper purpose.” What’s an improper purpose? “Harassment of a public agency or its employees.” No further explanation is given.

If a judge agrees, then the agency can stop responding to public records from the “vexatious requestor.”

Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter, D-Rialto, introduced the bill on behalf of Brown.

We learned of the bill from the California Newspaper Publishers Association Legislative Bulletin, which says the bill is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday (April 21). Here’s a list of that committee’s members, their e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

The CalAware has also written this letter in opposition to the bill.

Bay Area Media News


  1. there are rumors that jerry brown, age 71, has begun to show signs of senility … in fact, he was asked about it yesterday on KGO and offered to take an I.Q. test … maybe this bill is a sign that brown’s having cognitive problems?

  2. i wish one of our local legislators, who does a “there ought to be a law’ contest, takes this opportunity to not only fight brown’s proposal but pass a bill that would punish public agencies for refusing or dragging their feet when it comes to CPRA requests … are you listening joe simitian and jerry hill!

  3. In grade school I was taught that democracy in practice is slow and often inefficient– certainly vexing for many.

    The alternatives, including the real system I’ve since learned we live under (thanks to the freedoms we still enjoy), are no preferable match for it.

    I still hope We the People can get a good look at Obama’s birth certificate, Bush’s National Guard records, the passenger manifests for hijacked planes on 9/11…..

  4. government bureaucrats always act like they’re being harassed when they are asked for public documents. A lot of reporters would be declared vexatious requestors within the first few weeks after this becomes law.

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