Monday, January 04, 2010

New laws in California affecting newspapers

Read more at CNPA
Location Oakland, Ca - Private Investigator In 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed 652 bills and vetoed 241. Here is a roundup of laws that will affect the newspaper industry. Unless otherwise indicated, the laws became effective January 1, 2010.

Freedom of Information

AB 130 (Jeffries) -- Removes the mother’s maiden name from the nonconfidential marriage data files released to the public. Disclosable marriage records will included the name of each party to the marriage.

AB 524 (Bass) -- Rewrites the decade-old anti-paparazzi law to make it easier for victims to sue the publisher or broadcaster of an ill-gotten image as well as the photographer. The law makes newspaper publishers and other media liable in tort under the existing anti-paparazzi law if they sell, transmit, publish or use an image with the knowledge the image was obtained illegally and they paid for the image. Late amendments adding limitations and evidentiary hurdles could make the new tort against publishers extremely difficult to pursue. CNPA nonetheless asked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto the bill.

AB 1494 (Eng) -- Amends the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting law to address a recent court decision affecting serial meetings of public bodies, which are already prohibited under the law. AB 1494 amends the definition of “meeting” to state: “A majority of the members of a state body shall not, outside of a meeting authorized by this chapter, use a series of communications of any kind, directly or through intermediaries, to discuss, deliberate, or take action on any item of business that is within the subject matter of the state body.” CNPA sponsored this bill.

SB 40 (Correa) -- Requires birth and death certificates as well as judgment abstracts to contain only the last 4 digits of a social security number; and provides that a document containing more than the last 4 digits of a social security number is not entitled to be recorded.

SB 312 (Romero) -- Requires the State Board of Education and the State Allocation Board to provide for the live transmission of meetings by web cast or television.

SB 320 (Corbett) -- Prohibits state courts from recognizing a defamation judgment obtained in a foreign jurisdiction, unless the court determines the defamation law applied in the case provides at least as much protection for freedom of expression as offered by the First Amendment and California Constitution. CNPA sponsored this effort to stop the growing phenomenon of libel tourism.

SB 340 (Yee) -- After December 1, 2010, requires any business that makes an automatic renewal or continuous service offer to a consumer, to present the offer terms in a clear and conspicuous manner, obtain the consumer's affirmative consent and provide an acknowledgment that includes the automatic renewal or continuous service offer terms, cancellation policy, and information regarding how to cancel in a manner that is capable of being retained by the consumer.

SB 359 (Romero) -- Comprehensively updates the alphabetical and descriptive index of code sections that can provide a basis for nondisclosure of public records under the California Public Records Act. CNPA sponsored this bill.

SB 786 (Yee) -- Amends the California Anti-SLAPP law to prohibit government agencies that successfully use the law from obtaining their attorney fees and costs in any action brought under the state’s open meeting or public records laws. CNPA sponsored the bill.