The California Legislature might not be able to fix our multi billion-dollar budget deficit, but a bill authored by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would prevent courts from imposing debilitating penalties in good-government cases such as the one that saddled open-government activists Rich McKee and CalAware with tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
The legislation would bar government agencies from seeking repayment of attorney fees under the state's anti-SLAPP law when they are sued to produce public documents or to comply with public meeting requirements. Anti-SLAPP allows defendants to collect attorney fees when a court decides a case is without merit.
McKee and CalAware joined a lawsuit brought against Orange Unified School District for alleged violations of public meeting law. They lost the case and the court awarded the district more than $80,000 in attorney fees.