(Courthouse News) In a win for California’s powerful lobbying industry, a state appeals court ruled Monday that the state’s negotiations with labor unions regarding a 2015 employment law are privileged and can remain hidden from the public.

A Third Appellate District panel in Sacramento overturned a lower court’s order requiring the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency to produce an index identifying the author of records it was withholding from two Fresno farming businesses’ public records request.

The farmers say they were carved out of the state’s law and opened up to lawsuits because of past disputes with the union that crafted and lobbied for the bill. The state then produced highly redacted information in response to the farmers’ public records request seeking communications between the state and the United Farm Workers of America on Assembly Bill 1513.

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