A California appellate court recently held that the state's open public records law, the California Public Records Act (CPRA), Cal. Gov't Code §§ 6250, et seq., did not conflict with a federal homeland security statute's protection of sensitive infrastructure information.
The case stemmed from a request by the California First Amendment Coalition for a copy of Santa Clara County's geographic information system's basemap. The county refused, claiming that the Critical Infrastructure Information Act, 6 U.S.C. §§ 131-134, and accompanying regulations, protects it from disclosing critical infrastructure information that it submits to the Department of Homeland Security.
The state court found that the federal laws did not apply to the basemap information because they only protected "recipients" of information, and not "submitters." Therefore, the court concluded, the county had to comply with the CPRA request.
The court also held that the basemap did not meet a CPRA public interest exemption, does not constitute copyrighted material, and cannot be released under a limiting license agreement.