State insurance regulators largely prevail in legal dispute over public records

The following article is about a decision by a court in California with which we disagree.  This decision will allow public officials to hide important information from the public without adequate cause. 

By Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, January 14, 2023

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has rejected most of a lawsuit that a consumer advocacy group filed against the California Department of Insurance accusing state regulators of illegally withholding public records.

In a decision issued this past week, Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled against a request by Consumer Watchdog that sought to force regulators to turn over emails and meeting information sought under the California Public Records Act.  Consumer Watchdog said the decision will make it harder for citizens to challenge officials who withhold documents from public release.

“The court’s ruling will likely embolden government officials to shield government records from the public view and raises serious questions about the state’s Public Records Act that may need to be addressed by the legislature or at the ballot box,” said Jerry Flanagan, litigation director for the Los Angeles advocacy group.

“Access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business is a fundamental right of every person in this state and is a critical weapon in the fight against government corruption,” he said.

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