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5. Waiting for a response

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  • Alabama

    Inapt; Alabama has no provision for administrative appeal from denial of access to public records.

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  • Alaska

    The agency head or his or her designee must issue a written determination stating which of the records that are subject to the appeal will be disclosed and which will not, "as soon as practicable but not later than the tenth working day after the close of the record on appeal." 2 AAC 96.345(a). The agency head may extend the 10-working-day period for a period not to exceed 30 working days upon written request from the requester, or by sending a written request to the requester within the basic 10-working-day period. 2 AAC 96.345(b). Any determination denying your appeal must be in writing, must state the specific statute, regulation, or court decision, which is the basis for the denial and must state briefly the reason for the denial. 2 AAC 96.350. The denial must further inform you that you have a right to obtain judicial review of the denial by commencing an action in superior court. Id.

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • Arkansas

    There is no administrative appeal process from the denial of a request.

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  • Connecticut

    The FOIC is required to hear and decide the appeal within one year. Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-206(b). (This statute was amended in 1986 to increase this time period from 30 days to one year in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Town of North Haven v. FOIC, 198 Conn. 498, 503 A.2d 1161 (1986) (FOIC must hear and decide appeal within statutory time limitations)).

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  • Delaware

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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  • District of Columbia

    The Mayor has 10 days, not including weekends and holidays, in which to act on the appeal. D.C. Code Ann. § 2-537(a).

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  • Georgia

    The Act does not require or otherwise provide for administrative appeals.

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  • Hawaii

    Before accepting an appeal, the Director will initially assess whether the appeal complies with the requirements of Haw. Code R. § 3-73-12. Haw. Code R. § 2-73-13. Once the Director has accepted an appeal, it has five days to either:

    Notify the appellant that the appeal will not be heard and specify the reasons why the appeal is not warranted or the additional information that the OIP requires for the appeal to proceed;

    Issue a notice of appeal to the appellant and the agency whose action is being appealed.

    Id. The OIP’s notice of appeal must include a description of the general procedures that the OIP will follow in resolving the appeal and set out the responsibilities of each of the parties in responding to the appeal. Id.

    Within ten days of receiving a notice of appeal, the agency must provide a written response to the OIP including the following information:

    A concise statement of the factual background;

    A list identifying or describing the records being withheld;

    The agency’s explanation of its position, including its justification for denying access to the records substantiated by citations to specific statutory sections and other law that support its position;

    Any evidence necessary to support application of any claimed exception, exemption, or privilege; and

    Contact information for the agency officer or employee authorized to respond and make representations on behalf of the agency with respect to the appeal.

    Id. § 2-73-14.

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  • Idaho

    Not applicable.

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  • Illinois

    The time frames for responding to correspondences pertaining to a request for review before the Public Access Counselor are set forth in 5 ILCS 140/9.5(c), (d), (f)

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  • Indiana

    Because there is no administrative appeals process, there is no appeal letter to which a response would be required.

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  • Iowa

    Consult the local court administrator for an estimate of the likely hearing date.

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  • Kentucky

    The Attorney General allows the public agency an opportunity to submit a written response to the appeal, which must also be sent to the requester. See 40 KAR 1:030 § 2. The public agency is required to carry the burden of proving that its actions are justified under the law. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.880(2)(c).

    The Attorney General has twenty (20) days from the receipt of the appeal, excluding holidays and weekends, to issue a written decision stating whether the agency violated the Open Records Act. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.880(2)(a). The Attorney General may extend this period by an additional 30 business days if additional documentation or extensive research is needed or if there is an "unmanageable increase" in appeals to review. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.880(2)(b). The Attorney General is required to send copies of the decision to the agency and the requester. See Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.880(2)(c).

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  • Maine

    The Act does not provide for administrative appeal.

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  • Maryland

    There is no specific time frame for resolution of appeals directed to the Public Access Ombudsman. For appeals directed to the State Public Information Act Compliance Board, once the Board receives a complaint, it must promptly send the complaint to the relevant custodian and request a response to the Board.  § 4-1A-06(a). The custodian has 15 days to respond. § 4-1A-06(b). If the custodian does not respond within 45 days, the Board will proceed to rule on the facts presented in the complaint. § 4-1A-06(c). If the information in the complaint and response is sufficient for making a determination, the Board will issue a written opinion within 30 days after receiving the custodian’s response. § 4-1A-07(a). If the information is insufficient, the Board may convene an informal conference and then issue its opinion within 30 days following the conference. § 4-1A-07(b). If the Board is unable to issue an opinion within the specified time periods, the Board must state in writing the reason for its inability to issue an opinion and then issue an opinion as soon as possible but not later than 90 days after the filing of the complaint.

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  • Massachusetts

    The regulations state that the Supervisor shall act and render a written opinion "within a reasonable time," 950 CMR 32.08(3), and the public records office normally responds reasonably promptly. An appellant would be wise to check on the status of the appeal periodically, because the Supervisor may close an appeal where there has been no communication from the requester for a six-month period.  Id.

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  • Michigan

    Not specifically addressed.

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  • Montana

    There are no administrative appeal requirements.

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  • Nebraska

    Not addressed.

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  • New Mexico

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue.

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  • North Carolina

    There is no provision for administrative appeal, by letter or otherwise.

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  • North Dakota

    In preparing an opinion, the attorney general has discretion to obtain and review a recording made under N.D.C.C. § 44-04-19.2. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.1.The attorney general may also request and obtain information claimed to be exempt or confidential for the purpose of determining whether the information is exempt or confidential. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.1. The attorney general must issue to the public entity involved an opinion on the alleged violation unless the request is withdrawn by the person requesting the opinion or a civil action has been filed involving the possible violation. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-21.1.

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  • Oklahoma

    Not applicable.

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  • Oregon

    Typically, the Attorney General or district attorney has seven days in which to grant or deny the petition in whole or in part. ORS 192.418. However with respect to health regulatory boards, the Attorney General’s office takes the position that the statutes allow fifteen days to respond where an affected licensee has the right to respond to the petition. See Attorney General Manual, § I.G.1.c.

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  • Pennsylvania

    After an appeal is filed, the Office of Open Records will send an acknowledgment letter recognizing receipt of the appeal and will assign an appeals officer to review the appeal. 65 Pa. C.S.A. § 67.1101(a)(2). The appeals officer is required to make a “final determination” that must be mailed to the requester and agency “within 30 days of receipt of the appeal.” Id. § 67.1101(b)(1). If the appeals officer fails to do so, “the appeal is deemed denied.” Id. § 67.1101(b)(2).

    The appeals officer is required to do the following:

    1. Set a schedule for the requester and open records officer to submit documents in support of their positions;
    2. Review all information filed relating to the request;
    3. Consult with agency counsel as appropriate;
    4. Issue a final determination.

    See id. § 67.1102(a).

    If a person other than an agency or requester has a direct interest in the appeal, that person may, “within 15 days following receipt of actual knowledge of the appeal but no later than the date the appeals officer issues an order, file a written request to provide information or to appeal before the appeals officer or to file information in support of the requester’s or agency’s position.” Id. § 67.1101(c)(1). The appeals officer may grant the request if no hearing has been held, no order has been issued, and the appeals officer believes the information will be “probative.” Id. § 67.1101(c)(2). Copies of the written request shall be sent to the requester and agency. Id. § 67.1101(c)(3).

    Prior to issuing the final determination, the appeals officer may, but is not required to, conduct a hearing. Id. § 67.1102(a)(2). The decision to hold a hearing “is not appealable.” Id. If a hearing is held, Pennsylvania rules governing administrative practice and procedure (1 Pa. Code Pt. II) shall apply; if a hearing is not held, those rules do not apply “except to the extent that the agency has adopted these chapters in its regulations or rules under this subsection.” Id. § 67.1102(b)(1)-(2).

    The appeals officer may admit into evidence testimony, evidence and documents that the appeals officer believes is reasonably probative and relevant, and may limit the nature and extent of evidence found to be cumulative. Id. § 67.1102(a)(2). The Office of Open Records, a judicial agency, the Attorney General, Auditor General, State Treasurer or district attorney may adopt procedures relating to appeals. Id. § 67.1102(b). The Office of Open Records has not adopted formal regulations implementing the Law. The Office of Open Records maintains procedural guidelines on its website. https://www.openrecords.pa.gov/Appeals/ProceduralGuidelines.cfm.

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  • Rhode Island

    A final determination by the chief administrative officer must be made within ten (10) business days after submission of a review petition. R.I. Gen. Laws §  38-2-8(a).

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  • South Carolina

    Not applicable in South Carolina.

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  • South Dakota

    No time limit in which Office of Hearing Examiners must hold hearing of decide case.

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  • Utah

    The chief administrative officer must make a determination on the appeal within five business days of receiving the notice of appeal or, if a business confidentiality claim is at issue, within twelve business days of receiving the notice of appeal. See Utah Code § 63G-2-401(5). If no determination is made within the specified time period, the failure to make a determination shall be considered an order denying the appeal. See id. In Young v. Salt Lake County, 52 P.3d 1240, 1243 (Utah 2002), the Utah Supreme Court concluded that the chief administrative officer’s belated response to an appeal was the determinative date in evaluating the timeliness of an appeal. The court held that the chief administrative officer’s eventual response to the appeal enabled the petitioner to file a petition for judicial review within 30 days from the response. If the chief administrative officer had not responded at all, however, the petitioner’s appeal would have been deemed untimely, as it was outside the 35-day period provided by Utah Code section 63G-2-404(2)(b)(ii). See id. at 1244.

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  • Vermont

    If the head of the agency fails to issue a decision on the appeal within five business days, it is deemed a denial.  1 V.S.A. § 318(a)(2).

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  • West Virginia

    (This section is blank. See the point above.)

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