URISA Notes the California Supreme Court's Decision in Orange County Case

Des Plaines, IL (July 16, 2013) – On Monday, July 8, the California Supreme Court ruled that Orange County must provide spatial databases to outside parties in their original form as complete electronic databases, such as a geodatabase, rather than simply in a readable version, such as a printed copy or a PDF file.  The Court also decided that the data must be provided for the cost of distribution, rejecting the County’s policy of licensing the data at market prices in an attempt to recover part of the cost of data production.  Specifically, the Court said, “Because the [Orange County] Landbase is not excluded from the definition of a public record under section 6254.9(b), and because the County does not argue that the database is otherwise exempt from disclosure, the County must produce the OC Landbase in response to Sierra Club’s request ‘in any electronic format in which it holds the information’ (§ 6253.9(a)(1)) at a cost not to exceed the direct cost of duplication (§§ 6253.9(a)(2), 6253, subd. (b)).”

URISA welcomes any decision that increases the availability of geospatial data for public use.  As noted by URISA Past President Greg Babinski 18 months ago, it is URISA’s policy that all units of government should freely provide the means for their citizens to fully participate in their own governance by publishing and otherwise supplying geospatial data to all interested parties.  We recognize that the laws governing public records vary from state to state and that some states have provisions in their statutes to authorize state and local government agencies to recover part of the cost of data creation and maintenance through licensing fees.  The California Supreme Court has ruled that California is not such a state, thereby clarifying what had been an ambiguous policy situation.  As the Court itself said, “the legislative history of section 6253.9 reveals no clear answer to the question before us.”  Thus, the Court provided the required policy clarification by applying the direction contained in Article I, Section 3(b)(2) of the California Constitution, which says, “A statute, court rule, or other authority, including those in effect on the effective date of this subdivision, shall be broadly construed if it furthers the people’s right of access, and narrowly construed if it limits the right of access.”

URISA continues to support appropriate funding for governmental geospatial programs and recognizes that there are multiple acceptable mechanisms for such funding.  The decision in the California case is based on the policy choices and laws of that state.  Other state and local governments may legitimately adopt different policies and funding mechanisms, but it is the policy of URISA that no such funding mechanism should interfere with the rights of the governed to participate in their governance.  Where state statutes allow data sales for commercial reuse, URISA encourages state and local government agencies to nevertheless provide other data maintenance funding mechanisms in order to ensure the ready availability of public data.  URISA’s Advocacy Agenda supports the nationwide development of high quality, publicly accessible geospatial data.  The value of such data increases with its availability.




Contact:

J. Allison Butler,
President of URISA,
AICP,
CMS,
Email Contact

Wendy Nelson
Executive Director - URISA
847-824-6300 
www.urisa.org 
Email Contact  




Review Article Be the first to review this article

EMA:

Featured Video
Editorial
Peggy AycinenaWhat Would Joe Do?
by Peggy Aycinena
Retail Therapy: Jump starting Black Friday
Peggy AycinenaIP Showcase
by Peggy Aycinena
REUSE 2016: Addressing the Four Freedoms
More Editorial  
Jobs
Development Engineer-WEB SKILLS +++ for EDA Careers at North Valley, CA
ACCOUNT MANAGER MUNICH GERMANY EU for EDA Careers at MUNICH, Germany
AE-APPS SUPPORT/TMM for EDA Careers at San Jose-SOCAL-AZ, CA
Manager, Field Applications Engineering for Real Intent at Sunnyvale, CA
FAE FIELD APPLICATIONS SAN DIEGO for EDA Careers at San Diego, CA
Principal Circuit Design Engineer for Rambus at Sunnyvale, CA
Upcoming Events
Zuken Innovation World 2017, April 24 - 26, 2017, Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa in Hilton Head Island, SC at Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa Hilton Head Island NC - Apr 24 - 26, 2017
CST Webinar Series



Internet Business Systems © 2016 Internet Business Systems, Inc.
595 Millich Dr., Suite 216, Campbell, CA 95008
+1 (408)-337-6870 — Contact Us, or visit our other sites:
AECCafe - Architectural Design and Engineering TechJobsCafe - Technical Jobs and Resumes GISCafe - Geographical Information Services  MCADCafe - Mechanical Design and Engineering ShareCG - Share Computer Graphic (CG) Animation, 3D Art and 3D Models
  Privacy Policy