2. Discussion of each exemption.

a. Medical records. Although the statute suggests the exemption from disclosure for medical records may concern (only) persons confined to public institutions, the exception has been interpreted by the New Mexico Supreme Court to exempt any medical records. Newsome v. Alarid, 90 N.M. 790, 568 P.2d 1236 (1977). See also 1959-60 NM Op. Att'y Gen. 60-155 ("any record which might fairly be called a record of examination of a patient or record of medical treatment of a patient of any institution is not a public record and need not be submitted to public scrutiny.") Cf. 1968 N.M. Op. Att'y Gen. 68-110. Medical records that may otherwise be exempt from disclosure but are introduced into evidence in any public hearing lose their exempt status and may be inspected by the public. 1988 NM Op. Att'y Gen. 88-16.

b. Letters of reference concerning employment, licensing or permits. Under former law, this exception was determined to allow a public body to withhold the names of former state employees terminated for disciplinary reasons. State ex rel., Barber v. McCotter, 106 N.M. 1, 738 P.2d 119 (1987). It is not clear that Barber v. McCotter would be decided in the same manner after the 1993 amendments. See City of Las Cruces v. Public Employee Labor Rels. Bd. 1996 NMSC 24, 121 N.M. 688, 917 P.2d 451(upholding Barber v. McCotter, “A public employee's privacy interest in his personal position regarding union representation requires protecting representation petitions from public disclosure.”); see also City of Farmington v. Daily Times, 2009 NMCA 57, 146 N.M. 349, 210 P.3d 246 (requiring disclosure of applications of the position of city manager).

c. Letters or memorandums that are matters of opinion in personnel files or students' cumulative files. Prior to the 1993 amendments, which created a presumption of open records, a variety of court decisions suggested a broad reading of this authority to withhold documents, a reading that is no longer warranted. See, e.g., Spadaro v. Univ. of N.M. Bd. Of Regents, 107 N.M. 402, 759 P.2d 189 (1988) (complaints filed in a student job office at the University are not public records); Newsome v. Alarid, 90 N.M. 790, 568 P.2d 1236 (1977)(variety of information in a personnel file is not public record).

d. Law enforcement records that reveal confidential sources, methods, information or individuals accused, but not charged with a crime. Law enforcement records include evidence in any form received or compiled in connection with any criminal investigation or prosecution by any law enforcement or prosecuting agency, including inactive matters or closed investigations to the extent they contain the information listed above. See also §29-10-1, the Arrest Record Information Act, NMSA 1978. After the 1993 amendments, the Inspection of Public Records Act had been largely reconciled and specifically provides a wide variety of documents are now public: posters, announcements or lists identifying fugitives or wanted persons, police blotters, court records of public judicial proceedings, records of traffic defenses and accident reports, etc. This exception has been the focus of most of the public records battle over the last few years.

e. As provided in the Confidential Materials Act, this very narrow exemption covers only those documents donated to a museum, university or other public institution wherein the grantor specifically reserves and requires confidentiality for a certain term of years.

f. Trade secrets, attorney-client privileged information and strategic business plans of hospitals.

g. Name of applicants for presidents of state colleges and universities. §14-2-1(A)(7). But see mandatory disclosure process: §14-2-1(B), NMSA 1978.

h. Tactical response plans and procedures propounded by the state government to address terrorist threats are exempt from disclosure.

i-k. Discharge papers of a veteran of the armed services filed with "recording" documents.

l. As otherwise provided by law. The Supreme Court of New Mexico determined that regulations adopted by a public body may have the force of law.  City of Las Cruces v. Pub. Employees Labor Relations Bd. 1996-NMSC-24, 121 N.M. 688, 917 P.2d 451. The case before the court concerned a labor board's promulgation of regulations to withhold representation petitions otherwise public. The Supreme Court determined the regulations were "necessary to accomplish performance functions and duties which included protecting representation petitions from public disclosure." The Supreme Court resurrected the "balancing test" (State ex rel., Newsome, 90 N.M. 790, 797, 568 P.2d 1236, 1243 (1977)) and held that public employees' privacy interests related to union representation required the protection of the representation petitions from public disclosure. Given the (assumed) possibility of retaliation against employees who support labor activities and the failure of the plaintiff to offer any evidence of the benefit to the public that would outweigh the privacy interest, the court's resurrection of the balancing test and the balancing test itself may be more narrowly construed in the future.