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1. Attorney General


  • Alabama

    The Public Records Law does not give the attorney general a specific role in the enforcement of the act; however, the attorney general could prosecute violators of the Public Records Law under the statute regarding tampering with governmental records discussed above.

    As should be clear, the attorney general does have the power to issue advisory opinions when specific questions are raised regarding the proper interpretation of the Public Records Law.  See e.g., Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. No. 2007-067, 2007 Ala. AG LEXIS 40 (Apr. 3, 2007; 212 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 26 (Aug. 1, 1988); 208 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 28 (Sept. 2, 1987).

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  • California

    The CPRA does not appear to permit the California Attorney General to initiate enforcement proceedings against a public agency to disclose public records unless the Attorney General has been denied access to public records.

    County district attorneys may petition a court to require a state or local agency to allow them to inspect or receive copies of public records not otherwise exempt from disclosure when the agency fails to allow inspection or copying within 10 working days of a request. Cal. Gov’t Code § 6264.

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  • District of Columbia

    The Corporation Counsel must submit an annual report listing the number of cases which arose under the D.C. Act in the previous fiscal year, the exemption involved, disposition, and costs assessed in each case. D.C. Code Ann. § 2-538(c).

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  • Georgia

    The Attorney General has specific statutory authority to bring actions against persons or agencies having custody of public records “as may be appropriate” to enforce compliance with the Act and to seek either civil or criminal penalties or both. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-73(a).

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  • Iowa

    The attorney general has statutory authority to seek judicial enforcement.

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  • Kansas

    In investigating alleged violations, the Attorney General or county/district attorney may subpoena witnesses, investigate, etc. K.S.A. 45-228.

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  • Massachusetts

    The Supervisor of Public Records may notify the Attorney General of a case of noncompliance. G.L. c. 66, § 10(b), 950 CMR 32.09. However, the Attorney General has no obligation to act. Rather, the office decides on a case-by-case basis whether to take action and, if it does, what measures it deems necessary to ensure compliance. The Attorney General does not have authority to request oversight of a public records request.

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  • Michigan

    The Attorney General plays no role in the enforcement of the FOIA.

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  • Vermont

    To date, there have been no enforcement actions brought by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

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  • Wisconsin

    "Any person can request advice from the attorney general as to the applicability of [the records act] under any circumstances." Wis. Stat. § 19.39. The attorney general has enforcement authority under Wis. Stat. § 19.37(1)(b), along with the district attorney for the county where the record is found, upon written request by the requester. However, this authority is rarely exercised because the Open Records law authorizes requesters to bring their own enforcement actions under Wis. Stat. § 19.37(1)(a) and recover damages, reasonable attorney’s fees and actual costs if they prevail in whole or in substantial part under Wis. Stat. § 19.37(2)(a).

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