This tumultuous year has proven the essential nature of nonpartisan local news. Every day we bring you news critical to staying informed and active in the community. Join us with a tax-deductible donation.

When Orange County supervisors discuss emails and text messaging during their board meeting Tuesday, the conversation should hinge how electronic communications are treated under the state’s record retention and public records laws.

As the OC Register reported, Supervisor Bill Campbell said that BlackBerry communications between him and his staff during public meetings were “privileged communications.”

“I was under the impression that it’s [email is] considered to be work product and not available to the public,” Campbell said.

However, attorneys from the First Amendment advocacy group Californians Aware argue that most emails, with the exception of non-business-related communications, are public records.

The group has already threatened two cities with a court order and has vowed to fight cities’ email destruction policies.

The discussion Tuesday should provide at least some answers to how the county handles electronic communications during public meetings. We’re keeping track of this issue and will let you know what happens.

— ADAM ELMAHREK

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.