Learning Where Records Live

The California Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) just released its 2011 Cal Facts report, providing an overview of government spending and the performance of state-funded programs.  In addition to publishing numerous policy-based reports, the LAO publishes studies that provide roadmaps for public records researchers. For instance, the LAO-has prepared and published a report on the California Real Estate Fraud Prosecution Trust Fund Program.  Researchers interested in how county District Attorneys have managed their obligations under this program as well as researchers interested in individual real estate fraud matters could use this report to hone in on local record sets that would otherwise be identified only with great difficulty.  In addition, the report provides terminology that will be familiar to program overseers which is important language to have when submitting records requests.

The LAO organizes its reports in an online database, by subject-area including business and labor, criminal justice, education, environment, health, social services and transportation.  To keep up with recent LAO publications, you can subscribe to subject-specific RSS feeds.

Most states have entities similar to the LAO.  On the federal level, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is comparable to the LAO.