Skip to content

1. Status of requester

Posts

  • Alabama

    By the express terms of the Alabama Public Records Law, the right to inspect and take a copy of public writings of the State of Alabama inures to the benefit of every citizen. See Scott v. Culpepper, 220 Ala. 393, 393-94, 125 So. 643, 644 (1930) (The law "gives every citizen a right to inspect and take a copy" of public records.). Although the statute does not contain a definition of the term "citizen," that term should indicate that the statute was intended to apply to United States citizens, since the Alabama Legislature could easily have limited the statute to citizens of Alabama by express language but did not do so. However, the attorney general has opined that only citizens of the State of Alabama are entitled to public records.  Ala.  Atty. Gen. Opp. 2018-030.

    In Person v. State Dep't of Forensic Sciences, 721 So. 2d 203 (Ala. Civ. App. 1998), the Court of Civil Appeals held that although § 36-12-40 gives every citizen the right to inspect and to copy public records, it does not require that state agencies make copies of the records and mail them to prisoners who have asked to review them. Furthermore, the Court held, the Department of Forensic Sciences can require an inmate to give reasonable grounds for wanting to inspect public records relating to protocols for drug testing to ensure that the inmate wants the information for a legitimate or proper purpose. Id. at 205.

    The "news media" have a right of access under Alabama's Public Records Law, whether the requester is a company or corporation or other business form. See Stone v. Consolidated Publishing Co., 404 So. 2d 678, 681 (Ala. 1981) (by implication). A professional organization has standing to bring suit for access to public records under the law, Birmingham Education Ass'n v. Birmingham City Bd. of Educ., CV 4-637 at 2-3 (Cir. Ct. of Jefferson County, Ala., Nov. 15, 1995) ("BEA, and any other citizen, is a proper plaintiff with standing to seek [records under Alabama's Public Records Law]."), as does a requester who seeks access to public records for "a commercial purpose," Walsh v. Barnes, 541 So. 2d 33, 35 (Ala. Civ. App. 1989) (Alabama's Public Records Law "makes no distinction between disclosure for profit or otherwise.").  Media outlets or other entities should take care, in light of a recent attorney general opinion, that the individual or entity requesting public records is an Alabama citizen.  Ala.  Atty. Gen. Opp. 2018-030.

    view more
  • Alaska

    Alaska law makes no distinction as to who may request public records.

    view more
  • Arizona

    Under the Arizona Public Records Law, “any person” may inspect public records. A.R.S. § 39-121.

    view more
  • Arkansas

    “[A]ny citizen of the State of Arkansas” may make a request. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(a)(1). However, incarcerated felons may not obtain records of the Department of Correction and the Department of Community Correction. Otherwise, the term “citizen” includes a corporation doing business in the state. Arkansas Hwy. & Transp. Dep’t v. Hope Brick Works Inc., 294 Ark. 490, 744 S.W.2d 711 (1988). This approach would also include partnerships and other unincorporated associations doing business in the state. Indeed, the Supreme Court has said that “anyone who requests information is entitled to it.” Bryant v. Weiss, 335 Ark. 534, 983 S.W.2d 902 (1998) (emphasis added). In the Bryant case, the Court held that a public official, in his official capacity, is a “citizen” for purposes of Section 25-19-105(a)(1). See also Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 98-174 (civil service commissioners may obtain access to personnel and employee evaluation records under the FOIA). An agency may require identification showing name and address or completion of a form on which the requester provides citizenship information. Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 94-235. The Attorney General has opined that a proxy may request records for a non-citizen, as long as that proxy is an Arkansas citizen. See Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. Nos. 2008-191, 97-071, 96-190.

    view more
  • California

    "[A]ccess to information concerning the conduct of the people's business is a fundamental and necessary right of every person in this state." Cal. Gov't Code § 6250. "Every person" can inspect public records. Cal. Gov't Code § 6253(a). "Person" includes any natural person, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, firm or association. Cal. Gov't Code § 6252(c). The CPRA does not differentiate among those who seek access to public information. If a record is public, as defined by or construed under the CPRA, all persons have the same right of access. Los Angeles Unif. Sch. Dist v. Superior Court, 228 Cal. App. 4th 222, 242, 175 Cal. Rprt. 3d 90 (2014); County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court, 170 Cal. App. 4th 1301, 1324, 89 Cal. Rptr. 3d 374 (2009); State Bd. of Equalization v. Superior Court, 10 Cal. App. 4th 1177, 1190, 13 Cal. Rptr. 2d 342 (1992).

    For example, citizens of other states, and foreign as well as domestic corporations are included in the CPRA's definition of "person." Connell v. Superior Court, 56 Cal. App. 4th 601, 611-12, 65 Cal. Rptr. 2d 738 (1997). A municipal corporation, as well as it elected city attorney, is also a “person” entitled to request documents from another governmental agency. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. v. Superior Court, 151 Cal. App. 4th 759, 771, 60 Cal. Rptr. 3d 445 (2007).  Section 6252.5 of the Government Code expressly allows an elected member or official of any state or local agency to access public records of that agency — or any other — on the same basis as any other person. Cal. Gov't Code § 6252.5. Likewise, a plaintiff who files suit against a public agency may utilize the CPRA to obtain documents for use in litigation to the same extent as any other person. County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court, 82 Cal. App. 4th 819, 826, 98 Cal. Rptr. 2d 564 (2000). Members of the media, while "persons" under the CPRA, have no greater right of access than the general public. Dixon v. Superior Court, 170 Cal. App. 4th 1271, 1279, 88 Cal. Rptr. 3d 847 (2009); City of San Jose v. Superior Court, 74 Cal. App. 4th 1008, 1018, 88 Cal. Rptr. 2d 552 (1999); City of Hemet v. Superior Court, 37 Cal. App. 4th 1411, 1417 n.7, 44 Cal. Rptr. 2d 532 (1995). Conversely, a person personally affected by the public record has no greater right of access than other persons under the CPRA. Los Angeles Police Dept. v. Superior Court, 65 Cal. App. 3d 661, 668, 135 Cal. Rptr. 575 (1977).

    view more
  • Colorado

    "Any person" may inspect any public record at reasonable times. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 24-72-201, 24-72-203(1)(a). "Person" is defined as any natural person, including any public employee and any elected or appointed public official acting in an official or personal capacity, and any corporation, limited liability company, partnership, firm, or association. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-202(3).

    Copying of records is subject to federal copyright and trademark laws. The state and its agencies, institutions, and political subdivisions may maintain an action to obtain and enforce copyright or trademark protection under federal law. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-203(4). This authorization, however, is not intended to restrict public access to fair use of copyrighted materials, see 17 U.S.C. § 107, and does not apply to writings which are merely lists or other compilations.

    The "person in interest," the person who is the subject of a record, may have greater rights of access to records about that person than do others. See Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 24-72-204(2)(a)(II), (3).

    view more
  • Connecticut

    FOIA specifically applies to "every person" without reference to citizenship. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(a).
    Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(c) states "[w]henever a public agency receives a request from any person confined in a correctional institution or facility or a Whiting Forensic Division facility, for disclosure of any public record under the Freedom of Information Act, the public agency shall promptly notify the Commissioner of Correction or the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services in the case of a person confined in a Whiting Forensic Division facility of such request, in the manner prescribed by the commissioner, before complying with the request as required by the Freedom of Information Act." The commissioners have the right to withhold the record if it is exempt under Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(18) as a safety, escape or disorder risk.

    view more
  • Delaware

    Any citizen of Delaware, including corporate citizens, may request disclosure pursuant to the Act. 29 Del. C. § 10001; Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 91-I003 (Feb. 1, 1991). Non-Delaware citizens may not request disclosure under the Act. Del. Op. Att'y Gen., No. 96-ib01 (Jan. 2, 1996).

    view more
  • District of Columbia

    Any "person" has a right to inspect or copy any public record not exempted from disclosure. § 2-532(a).  The term “person” “includes individuals, partnerships, corporations, associations, and public or private organizations of any character other than the Mayor, the Council, or an agency.”  § 2-502(9); see § 2-539(a)(8) (providing that definition of “person” from § 2-502 applies).

    view more
  • Florida

    Fla. Stat. § 119.01(1) (2005) provides that “[i]t is the policy of this state that all state, county, and municipal records are open for personal inspection and copying by any person.”  Person includes “individuals, children, firms, associations, joint ventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations.”  Fla. Stat. § 1.01(3) (2014).  There is no distinction between citizens and non-citizens as far as access to public records is concerned, and a former citizenship requirement was deleted from law in 1975. Cf. Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 75-175 (1975).

    view more
  • Georgia

    The right to access public records under the Georgia Open Records Act is a “public right of the People as a whole.” Deal v. Coleman, 294 Ga. 170, 184, 751 S.E.2d 337, 349 (2013). Accordingly, what is relevant to proceedings under the Act is whether the records are “public” not the identity of the requester. No person requesting inspection need have, assert or prove any special personal interest in the requested records. Id.; Smith v. Northside Hosp., 347 Ga. App. 700, 705, 820 S.E.2d 758, 764 (2018); Northside Realty Ass'n Inc. v. Cmty. Relations Comm'n, 240 Ga. 432, 434, 241 S.E.2d 189, 191 (1978). There is "no reason to distinguish [a death row inmate's] (or any other person's) right of access from news organizations' right of access." Parker v. Lee, 259 Ga. 195, 199, 378 S.E.2d 677, 681 (1989).

    view more
  • Hawaii

    The UIPA contains no restrictions based on citizenship. Section 92F-11(b) provides that "[e]xcept as provided in section 92F-13 [(detailing exceptions for disclosure)], each agency upon request by any person shall make government records available for inspection and copying during regular business hours." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-11(b) (emphasis added). Section 92F-3 defines "person" as "an individual, corporation, government, or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, or any other legal entity." Even foreign governments when engaged in "civil or criminal law enforcement activity authorized by law" may obtain access pursuant to written agreement, written request or, under specified circumstances, verbal request. Id. § 92F-19(a)(3).

    A person who makes a request for records to an agency, however, is not entitled to a response from the agency if the request is duplicative or substantially similar to a request that had been responded to within the past year, and the agency’s response would remain unchanged. Id. § 92F-11(b).

    If a person wants to be anonymous, in most circumstances, an agency may not ask or require the requester's name. Water Service Consumption Data, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-29 (Oct. 5, 1990); but see Information About Requesters of Conviction Data Records, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 96-4 (Dec. 10, 1996) (Hawaii Criminal Justice Center must allow access to information about individuals who request conviction data).

    Section 92F-19, however, prohibits the sharing of records and information between agencies except in ten sets of circumstances. Disclosure to the Legislative Auditor, the Legislative Reference Bureau, and the Ombudsman are expressly permitted. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-19(a)(9) (1996). So is disclosure to "the legislature or a county council, or any committee or subcommittee thereof." Id. § 92F-19(a)(6).

    view more
  • Idaho

    Any person can make a request for access to public records. Idaho Code § 74-102(1). A “person” is broadly defined to mean “any natural person, corporation, partnership, firm, association, joint venture, state or local agency or any other recognized legal entity.” Idaho Code § 74-101(9). There is no distinction made between citizens of the State of Idaho and others, nor is there any distinction noted between citizens of the U.S. and other countries. Any person who makes a request for access to a public record is permitted to examine and copy such record. Idaho Code § 74-102(1). The custodian of the records may require written requests and that the requester provide their name, a mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number. Idaho Code § 74-102(4). In practice, larger local and state agencies routinely require written requests on forms provided by the agency.

    view more
  • Illinois

    Every public body must make available to any person for inspection and copying all public records except those identified as exceptions. See 5 ILCS 140/3(a). Person is defined as any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, organization or association, acting individually or as a group. See 5 ILCS 140/2(b).

    view more
  • Indiana

    “Any person may inspect and copy the public records of any public agency during the regular business hours of the agency,” with exceptions as to which records may or might not be disclosed. Ind. Code § 5-14-3-3(a), § 5-14-3-4; see City of Elkhart v. Agenda: Open Gov’t Inc., 683 N.E.2d 622, 627 (Ind. App. 1997) (city had no discretion to deny or condition access to office phone records). Governmental entities are “persons” under the statute, see Knox County Council v. Sievers, 895 N.E.2d 1263 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008), as are corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and unincorporated associations. Ind. Code § 5-14-1.5-2.

    view more
  • Iowa

    There is no limitation on who can request records. "Every person shall have the right to examine and copy public records . . . ." Iowa Code § 22.2(1) (2017) (emphasis added). See generally Ne. Council on Substance Abuse, Inc. v. Iowa Dep’t of Pub. Health, 513 N.W.2d 757 (Iowa 1994).

    view more
  • Kansas

    "Any person" may request records. K.S.A. 45-218.

    view more
  • Kentucky

    There is no requirement that a person making a records request be a Kentucky citizen or resident.  As a general matter, the Open Records Act does not treat requests differently based on the status of the requester. However, Kentucky law imposes various limitations on records requests submitted by incarcerated individuals. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 197.025.

    view more
  • Louisiana

    In general, "any person of the age of majority" may request records. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:31. However, in Vourvoulais v. Movassaghi, 906 So. 2d 561 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2005), the court held that the Act grants a right of action to enforce the right to inspect or copy the public records to only the person who actually made the request — in that case, a paralegal in a firm representing a construction company, despite the fact she was acting on the direction of an attorney for the benefit of the client. Because the general counsel of the construction company brought the suit instead of the paralegal who signed the request letter, the court vacated the trial court's judgment in his favor. Id. at 465. One exception to this rule is that a convicted felon in custody who has exhausted his or her appellate remedies may not request records unless the request is limited to grounds upon which the individual could file for post-conviction relief. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 44:31.1; however, an attorney for an inmate is not bound by § 31.1 and is entitled records, Boren v. Taylor, 223 So.3d 1130 (La. 2017).  See also Hilliard v. Litchfield, 822 So. 2d 743 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2002) (finding prisoner was a "person" entitled to bring claim under Public Records Act despite having exhausted his appellate remedies when he brought suit, because status is measured at the time the request was made, not when suit filed). Also, public bodies (such as a city council or port district), may not request records, although the individuals who make up a public body may make a request. Plaquemines Parish Council v. Petrovich, 629 So. 2d 1322, (La. App. 4th Cir. 1993), writ denied 634 So. 2d 390 (La. 1994).

    view more
  • Maine

    The status of the requester is not relevant to a person’s right to inspect and copy public records.   However, the status of the requester may allow access to certain categories of records that are otherwise exempt from public disclosure (e.g., right of the subject of a criminal proceeding to access to otherwise confidential criminal records or employee access to otherwise confidential personnel records).

    view more
  • Maryland

    There are no citizenship restrictions.

    view more
  • Massachusetts

    "Any person" can request a public record. G.L. c. 66, § 10(a). While not defined in the statute, this term appears to include non-residents and aliens.  The custodian may not inquire about a requester’s status or motivation.  950 CMR 32.05(5); Guide to Mass. Pub. Recs. Law (Sec’y of State, rev. March 2009), at p. 7.  The Supervisor of Public Records has ruled that the law “does not distinguish between requesters,” and on that grounds he denied a citizen’s request for recordings of calls she herself made to local police.  See C. Herman, “Sifting through records appeals,” CommonWealth (Jan. 13, 2011).  Nor does entitlement to information depend on the level of a requester’s need.  Torres v. Attorney Gen., 391 Mass. 1, 10, 460 N.E.2d 1032 (1984).  Nonetheless, the Supervisor of Public Records has said that in applying the investigation exemption (exemption (f)), the determination of what are exempt “identifying details” may depend upon the requester’s familiarity with the incident in question.  Guide, at 16 (not citing any supporting case law).  Such a consideration would seem to be easily subject to manipulation by having a different person make the request, but a similar situation exists with respect to the Homeland Security exemption (exemption (n)).

    view more
  • Michigan

    The FOIA provides that "[e]xcept as expressly provided in [Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.243], upon providing a public body's FOIA coordinator with a written request that describes a public record sufficiently to enable the public body to find the public record, a person has a right to inspect, copy, or receive copies of the requested public record of the public body." Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.233(1) (emphasis added). Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.232 defines a "person" as an "individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, firm, organization, association, governmental entity, or other legal entity." Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.232(c). However, "person" does not include "an individual serving a sentence of imprisonment in a state or county correctional facility in this state or any other state, or in a federal correctional facility." Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.232(c); see Proctor v. White Lake Twp. Police Dep't, 248 Mich. App. 457, 639 N.W.2d 332 (2001) (FOIA prisoner exclusion not a constitutional deprivation). Before a 1996 amendment to the FOIA, oral requests were permissible.

    view more
  • Minnesota

    Any "person" may request access to data under the Act. Minn.Stat. § 13.03, subd. 3(a). A “person” is defined as any individual, partnership, corporation, association, business trust, or a legal representative of an organization. Minn. Stat. § 13.02, subd. 10.

    view more
  • Mississippi

    "Any person" may request records under the Act. § 25-61-5; Op. Att'y Gen. Aug. 1, 1984 to Earline Dugan.

    view more
  • Montana

    Mont. Code Ann. § 2-6-1006 authorizes a “person” to request public information from a public entity. Any citizen from another state, or anyone else, can make a request directly of the public body without regard to residence. Krakauer v. Commissioner of Higher Education, 384 Mont. 527, 381 P.3d 524 (2016).

    view more
  • Nebraska

    Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712 allows "all citizens of this state, and all other persons interested in the examination of the public records," to examine public records. Furthermore, Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.03 allows "any person" to seek redress for the wrongful withholding of records. Generally, the use of the term "person" in Nebraska statutes "includes bodies politic and corporate, societies, communities, the public generally, individuals, partnerships, joint stock companies, and associations." Neb. Rev. Stat. §49-801(16) (Reissue 2010).

    view more
  • Nevada

    Any person may request records under the Nevada Public Records Act (“NPRA”). NRS 239.0107(1).

    view more
  • New Hampshire

    Any person or entity may seek relief under the Statute. RSA 91-A:4 provides that "every citizen" has access to "public records" of public agencies and public bodies, while RSA 91-A:2 provides that "all persons" may attend public proceedings. In addition, RSA 91-A:7 provides that "any person" aggrieved by a violation of the chapter may petition the superior court for injunctive relief. Thus, there is no basis to believe that "citizen," in section 4, is a limiting term.

    view more
  • New Jersey

    Under OPRA, any "citizen of this State" has the right to inspect and copy public records. N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1. Although OPRA expressly provides that “government records shall be readily accessible…by citizens of this State” (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1), the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has advised of its position that OPRA does not prohibit access by residents of other States.

    Under the common law, the applicant must have an interest in the subject matter of the material sought, but the media's role as the "eyes and ears of the public" is usually sufficient to confer standing. Home News v. New Jersey Dept. of Health, 144 N.J. 446, 454, 539 A.2d 736 (1996).

    view more
  • New Mexico

    Every person has the right to inspect any public record. NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1 (2011).

    view more
  • New York

    Not limited. The statute states that “the public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government.” N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 84 (McKinney 1988). The law must be liberally construed to grant maximum public access to governmental records. See Newsday, Inc. v. Sise, 71 N.Y.2d 146, 150, 524 N.Y.S.2d 35, 37 (1987), cert. denied, 486 U.S. 1056, 108 S.Ct. 2823 (1988); Capital Newspapers v. Whalen, 69 N.Y.2d 246, 252, 513 N.Y.S.2d 367, 371 (1987); Lucas v. Pastor, 117 A.D.2d 736, 498 N.Y.S.2d 461 (2d Dep’t 1986); N.Y. News Inc. v. Grinker, 142 Misc.2d 325, 537 N.Y.S.2d 770 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. 1989).

    view more
  • North Carolina

    The Public records law provides, in G.S. § 132-6, that public records may be requested by “any person.” The North Carolina Press Association is not aware of any access problems arising out of the citizenship or residency of a person requesting access, and the AG Guide confirms that “any person has a right to inspect, examine and get copies of public records.”

    view more
  • North Dakota

    There is no limitation in the statute regarding who can request records—any member of the public can request or view records. While a former statute used to limit the access of records of a school district to “any taxpayer of the district,” that statute has been repealed and reenacted to state, “Except as otherwise provided by law, all records and documents of a school district are open to examination by any person.” N.D.C.C. § 15.1-07-25. Additionally, the North Dakota Supreme Court has noted, “The news media does not occupy a special status distinct from that of the general public.” Dickinson Newspapers v. Jorgenson, 338 N.W.2d 72, 79 (N.D. 1983).

    view more
  • Ohio

    "Any person" is entitled to inspect or receive a copy of a public record; the right is not limited to U.S., state, or community citizens. Ohio Rev. Code § 149.43(B).

    The term "any person" is "broad and permits anyone, including any recognized business entity (defendants, newspapers, researchers, designees and/or nondesignees) to obtain records." State ex rel. Quolke v. Strongsville City School Dist. Bd. Of Edn., 142 Ohio St.3d 509, 514, 33 N.E.3d 30, 34 (2015).

    An incarcerated person, however, must obtain a judge's consent before gaining access to public records unless the judge decides that the records would support a "justiciable claim" of the inmate. Ohio Rev. Code § 149.43(B)(8);  State ex rel. Sevayega v. Reis, 88 Ohio St. 3d 458, 727 N.E.2d 910 (2000).

    view more
  • Oklahoma

    Any person has the right of access to and review of government records. 51 O.S. § 24A.2. The Act does not limit access based on the purpose for which the documents are sought nor does it restrict future use of the information received. State agencies may not require that a requester enter into a written contract to obtain public records. 1999 OK AG 55.

    view more
  • Oregon

    Every person, regardless of nationality or residency, has a right to inspect any public record that is not expressly exempt from disclosure. ORS 192.314(1) (formerly ORS 192.420(1)). ORS 192.311(3) (formerly 192.410) defines “person” to include any natural person, corporation, partnership, firm or association, and any member or committee of the legislature. A public body may not use ORS 192.311(3) to request public records. Attorney General Manual, § I.A. The identity of the person seeking disclosure of a particular record may be relevant when a statutory exemption to disclosure requires a determination of the public interest in disclosure.

    view more
  • Pennsylvania

    A requester need only be a “[a] person that is a legal resident of the United States.”  65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.102. Thus, undocumented immigrants have no rights of access in Pennsylvania. However, the term “person” is not limited to individuals. See, e.g., Lukes v. Dep’t of Pub. Welfare, 976 A.2d 609, 615 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2009) (citing Tribune-Review Publ’g Co. v. Bodack, 961 A.2d 110 (Pa. 2008); Digital-Ink, Inc. v. Dep’t of Gen. Servs., 923 A.2d 1262 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2007); Sapp Roofing Co., Inc. v. Sheet Metal Workers' Int’l Ass’n, 713 A.2d 627 (Pa. 1998); Tapco, Inc. v. Twp. of Neville, 695 A.2d 460 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1997)).

    view more
  • Rhode Island

    The APRA is unlimited as to who may request to inspect or copy public records. “Every person or entity” may make such request. R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-3(a)(2012).

    view more
  • South Carolina

    "Any person has a right to inspect or copy any public record." S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-30(a). "Person" is defined to include individuals and entities. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-20(b).

    view more
  • South Dakota

    “[A]ll citizens of [South Dakota], and all other persons interested….” SDCL §1-27-1.

    view more
  • Tennessee

    Must be a citizen of Tennessee. The special study committee of the General Assembly that proposed the 2008 revision recommended that the state citizenship requirement be eliminated, but it was retained.

    view more
  • Texas

    Anyone, citizens and non-citizens alike, can request Texas public information, for any reason or use. The Texas Public Information Act (the “Act”), Tex. Gov’t Code § 552.001 et seq. (formerly Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. art. 6252-17a), places no limits on who can request public records. See City of Garland, 165 S.W.3d at 820 (“‘Public information’ must be made available to the public upon request by any person.”) The Act does not require that the requestor be a Texas resident. Section 552.221(a) of the Act specifically directs the officer for public information to produce public information on "application" by "any person." This is consistent with the Act's policy, which is specifically set forth in Section 552.001(a):

    Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees.

    Tex. Gov’t Code § 552.001(a).

    view more
  • Utah

    In Utah, the Government Records Access and Management Act (“GRAMA”) governs access to public records. GRAMA states that “[e]very person has the right to inspect a public record free of charge, and the right to take a copy of a public record during normal working hours . . . .” Utah Code § 63G-2-201(1).

    Under GRAMA, “a record is public unless otherwise expressly provided by statute.” Id. § 63G-2-201(2).

    GRAMA restricts access to all records that are classified as “private,” “controlled,” or “protected.” Id. § 63G-2-201(3)(a).

    GRAMA also restricts access to all records “to which access is restricted pursuant to court rule, another state statute, federal statute, or federal regulation, including records for which access is governed or restricted as a condition of participation in a state or federal program or for receiving state or federal funds.” Id. § 63G-2-201(3)(b).

    view more
  • Vermont

    The identity of the person requesting a record is irrelevant when determining whether a request under the Public Records Act should be granted.  Finberg v. Murnane, 159 Vt. 431, 437, 623 A.2d 979, 983 (Vt. 1992).

    view more
  • Virginia

    a. Citizens of the Commonwealth: Any citizen of the Commonwealth may inspect records during the regular business hours of the custodian of records. A citizen is defined elsewhere in the Code of Virginia as one born in the Commonwealth who has not in good faith become a citizen of another state or one born in another state of this Union or an alien naturalized under the laws of the United States who may be or become a resident of the Commonwealth. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that limiting standing to make a request under the Act to citizens of Virginia does not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause or the dormant Commerce Clause. McBurney v. Young, 569 U.S. 221, 133 S.Ct. 809 (2013). Nothing in the Act prohibits a citizen from making a request on behalf of a non-citizen, as the requester is not required to explain or otherwise justify the request. The custodian may require the requester to provide his name and legal address. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3704.A.

    b. Media: The Act specifically grants rights to representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth and to representatives of television and radio stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3704.A.  Online-only media are not addressed.

    view more
  • Washington

    Any person may request records. RCW 42.56.080. “Person” includes an individual, public, private or governmental entity, or “any other organization or group of persons, however organized.” RCW 42.17.020(35) (2000). A requester does not have to establish a “need to know” in order to obtain access. RCW 42.56.080; Yacobellis v. City of Bellingham, 55 Wn. App. 706, 780 P.2d 272 (1989), pet. for review denied, 114 Wn.2d 1002, 788 P.2d 1077 (1990).

    view more
  • West Virginia

    Any person or entity may obtain access to records. However, the West Virginia Supreme Court has held that individuals incarcerated in state or federal facilities "may not use [FOIA] to obtain court records for the purpose of filing a petition for writ of habeas corpus.” Syl. Pt. 3, State ex rel. Wyant v. Brotherton, 214 W. Va. 434, 589 S.E.2d 812 (2003). Instead, a state inmate is limited to the discovery available to him under the West Virginia Rules Governing Post–Conviction Habeas Corpus Proceedings. See also, Smith v. Shoemaker, 2012 WL 5232225 (2012) (per curium) (unpublished opinion).

    view more
  • Wisconsin

    "[A]ny requester has a right to inspect any record." Wis. Stat. § 19.35(1)(a) (2003–04). A "requester" is generally any person who requests access to a record, but "committed or incarcerated" persons face certain restrictions on their access. Id. § 19.32(3). A person is not excluded from "requester" status because that person happens to be in litigation with the governmental body to which a request is addressed. See Cavey v. Walrath, 229 Wis. 2d 105, 109, 598 N.W.2d 240, 243 (Wis. Ct. App. 1999). The reference to persons "committed" was added to exclude people involuntarily committed to mental institutions after a court held that such people were not excluded as "incarcerated." See Klein v. Wis. Res. Ctr., 218 Wis. 2d 487, 492–93, 582 N.W.2d 44, 46 (Wis. Ct. App. 1998) ("[W]hen the legislature amended the Open Records Law to prevent incarcerated persons from obtaining these types of records, it failed to include those individuals committed pursuant to ch. 980, Stats."). A requester who is an individual (or the representative of an individual) has certain rights, beyond those granted to the general public, to inspect any record "containing personally identifiable information pertaining to the individual." Wis. Stat. § 19.35(1)(am); Hempel v. City of Baraboo, 2005 WI 120, ¶ 33, 284 Wis. 2d 162, 699 N.W.2d 551, 561 ("[T]he right of inspection under paragraph (am) is in addition to any right under paragraph (a)" and within the narrow scope of matter "containing personally identifiable information pertaining to the individual" "is more unqualified than a right under paragraph (a).") (emphasis in original).

    An individual may inspect or copy a record containing information pertaining to that individual, notwithstanding that other persons may not, unless the information was collected in connection with a complaint, investigation or enforcement proceeding, or would endanger an individual's life or safety, identify a confidential informant, endanger the safety of any state correctional institution, or compromise the rehabilitation of a person in the department of corrections. Wis. Stat. §§ 19.35(1)(am), 19.35(4)(c).

    view more
  • Wyoming

    The identity of the requester or the purpose for which the records are sought are irrelevant as to whether the record is available for public access.  The pertinent question is whether the record is available to public.  If so, anyone may inspect it. Laramie River Conversation Council v. Dinger, 567 P.2d 731 (Wyo. 1977); Shaeffer v. University of Wyoming, 2006 WY 99.

    view more