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Distribution of State Agency Publications

It is not the intent of the Legislature to reduce the free flow of information between state government and the public

By Chris Micheli, November 27, 2022 11:38 am

Article 6.5 of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the California Government Code concerns the distribution of state publications by state agencies. Government Code Section 11094 provides that it is the intent of the Legislature to reduce the excessive flow of unsolicited state agency reports.

In addition, it is not the intent of the Legislature to reduce the free flow of information between state government and the public but, rather, to reduce the use of state government publications for other than required informational purposes and to effect a reduction in the escalating public expense of writing, printing, and distributing unsolicited state agency reports.

Government Code Section 11096 prohibits a state agency from distributing a state publication, except in response to a specific request, or to the subjects of a mailing list or distribution list who have previously requested the automatic receipt of reports of this type. Nonetheless, this section does not apply to the following publications:

  • Public information pamphlets.
  • Copies of legislative bills.
  • Copies of statutes, laws, and regulations.
  • Any information disseminated to the press.
  • Publications which are applications, instructions, or guidelines for complying with any state or federal law, regulation, or policy.
  • Directories.

Nonetheless, a state agency may distribute an abstract which contains a description of any reports submitted to the Legislature, and of any other information that is available upon request.

Government Code Section 11097 requires each state agency to include in its budget request a listing of state publications which were added by legislative mandate or otherwise during the previous fiscal year. Section 11098 provides that, when funding for any legislatively mandated publication is discontinued in the Budget Act, the statutory mandate for that publication is also automatically suspended.

Government Code Section 11099 requires each state agency that publishes or distributes a state publication to file a copy of the publication with the Joint Committee on Rules if it has published or distributed more than 1000 copies of the publication in the preceding 12 months. This section does not apply to specified publications.

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