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F. Contracts, proposals and bids


  • Alabama

    Documents relating to the award of public contracts in Alabama—whether by the state, county, municipality or a public corporation, and whether the contracts are required to be bid—are open to public inspection. See, e.g., Ala. Code § 9-15-78(a) (sale or lease of public lands); Ala. Code § 9-14-22(b) (all documents pertaining to award of contracts for concessions at state parks); and Ala. Code § 41-16-24(b); § 41-16-54(b); § 41-16-57(e); 200 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 23 (Aug. 19, 1985) (Medicaid fiscal agent contract); 227 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 42 (June 3, 1992) (fire district contracts); 237 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 18 (Oct. 11, 1994) (all documents relating to the award of the contract, including correspondence with references to check the bidder's credibility). However, if the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency determines that a contract has a direct impact on the security or safety of persons or facilities and requires confidential handling, records of bidding and award are not public and remain confidential.  Ala. Code § 39-2-2(g); see also Ala. Att’y Gen. Op. 2019-048 & 2020-015.

    Some records related to the State’s procurement of services and supplies are exempt from disclosure including: (1) commercial or financial information designated as confidential by a third party; (2) evaluative documents, bids, or proposals prior to an award; (3) when public disclosure would be detrimental to safety, security, or the public interest as determined by the Chief Procurement Officer; and (4) any procurement information identified by the Chief Procurement Officer as provided by statute.  Ala. Code §§ 41-4-115(a) & (b); see also Ala. Acts No. 2021-296.

    Settlement agreements entered into by a public entity are also public contracts, notwithstanding a confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. Consol. Publ’g Co. v. Smith, CV 92-500197 (Cir. Ct. Calhoun Cnty., Ala., Oct. 16, 1992).

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  • Alaska

    The State Procurement Code provides that procurement information is public except as otherwise provided by law, AS 36.30.050, and provides instructions concerning the confidentiality of certain data and documents submitted in connection with bids, as well as provisions governing the timing of release of information submitted in connection with bids and proposals, AS 36.30.040(b)(6), AS 36.30.140, AS 36.30.240, information that a bidder or offeror may be required to supply to show that it qualifies as a "responsible bidder." AS 36.30.360. The Alaska Land Act provides that the Division of Lands must keep confidential, upon request of the person supplying it, certain specified information supplied in connection with a sale, lease or other disposal of land by competitive bidding, and other related information. See AS 38.05.035(a)(9). Contracting by the Alaska Railroad Corporation is governed largely by its own regulations, and while information in possession of the Alaska Railroad Corporation is presumptively public and open to inspection and copying at reasonable times, matters of a privileged or proprietary nature may be designated by rule to be withheld from public disclosure. AS 42.40.220.

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  • Arizona

    Contracts, proposals and bids are usually only confidential until a contract is awarded, unless the bidder designates and the state concurs that trade secrets or other proprietary data must remain confidential. See A.R.S. § 34-603(H) (procurement of professional services); A.R.S. § 28-7366(G) (construction services); A.R.S. § 28-7367(G) (multiple contracts for construction services); A.R.S. § 41-2533(D) (procurement project bids); A.R.S. § 41-2534(D) (procurement project proposals); see also A.R.S. § 38-658(A) (information reviewed by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee regarding health plans for state employees); A.R.S. § 41-401(L) (deliberations of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the Constitutional Defense Council about legal expenses that will exceed $50,000).

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  • Arkansas

    By statute, any contract between a state agency and any entity “shall be deemed a public record.” Ark. Code Ann. § 25-18-501. It is not clear whether the legislature intended that such contracts be open to public inspection or that they simply be included within the definition of “public record” that appears in the FOIA. See Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-103(5)(A). The former seems most likely, since the definition of “public record” is broad enough to cover such contracts. If that interpretation is correct, the contracts would not be subject to any of the statutory exemptions from disclosure.

    Contracts with other government bodies — such as cities, counties, and school districts — are not affected by Section 25-18-501 and could be exempt under certain circumstances. If, for example, the contracts contain detailed financial information, they may fall within the FOIA exemption for “files which, if disclosed, would give advantage to competitors or bidders.” Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(b)(9)(A). The same is true with respect to proposals containing financial information, no matter what government entity is involved.

    Insofar as bids are concerned, Section 25-19-105(b)(9)(A) is designed to protect the integrity of the bidding process for government contracts. Obviously, a potential bidder should not be able to obtain, prior to the deadline for submission, a copy of bids already filed. But even after the bids have been opened, disclosure of financial information may have an adverse impact if it is so detailed that other companies could use it to estimate the successful bidder’s costs and thus possibly undercut his bids on future projects. Arkansas Dep’t of Finance & Admin. v. Pharmacy Associates Inc., 333 Ark. 451, 970 S.W.2d 217 (1998). Moreover, disclosure of a bidder’s confidential financial information “would have the effect of diminishing the prospect of original and candid bids in the future.” Id. The exemption could also come into play apart from the bidding process itself. See, e.g., Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 92-156 (wage rate information obtained by labor department from companies that had participated in sealed bidding might be exempt).

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  • California

    Contracts are public. Competitive proposals, while decided on a case-by-case basis, are arguably exempt under Section 7922.000’s public interest balancing test during the negotiation process but must be made public prior to final acceptance by the public agency to afford public input in the selection process. Michaelis, Montanari & Johnson v. Superior Court, 38 Cal.4th 1065, 1073, 44 Cal. Rptr. 3d 663, 136 P.3d 194 (2006).

    Financial records submitted to an agency and used as a basis for its determination to increase rates on an exclusive public contract are public. See, e.g., San Gabriel Valley Tribune v. Superior Court, 143 Cal. App. 3d 762, 192 Cal. Rptr. 415 (1983) (rejecting trade secret exemption over financial data submitted to city and considered in open meeting regarding rate increase for waste disposal services). But see STI Outdoor v. Superior Court, 91 Cal. App. 4th 334, 341, 109 Cal. Rptr. 2d 865 (2001) (holding that disclosure to successful bidder of legal memorandum and transmittal letter where disclosure was reasonably necessary to further interests of both parties in finalizing negotiations did not waive attorney-client privilege).

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  • Colorado

    Open. Contracts made by any government agency involving an expenditure of public funds are open to inspection as public records under the Open Records Act. Freedom Newspapers Inc. v. Denver & Rio Grande Western R.R., 731 P.2d 740 (Colo. App. 1986). After a contract has been let, the bidding documents, of successful and unsuccessful bidders, are subject to inspection. See International Bhd. of Elec. Workers Local 68 v. Denver Metro. Major League Baseball Stadium Dist., 880 P.2d 160 (Colo. App. 1994); Denver Post v. Stapleton Dev. Corp., 19 P.3d 36 (Colo. App. 2000).

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  • Connecticut

    See Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(b)(7) as discussed above in Records Outline at II.A.2.g.

    FOIA states that disclosure is required of the “names of firms obtaining bid documents from any state agency.” Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-210(d)(3).

    FOIA also states that “[a]ny contract of employment to which the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party shall be deemed to be a public record . . . .” Conn. Gen. Stat. §1-214(a).

    Conn. Gen. Stat. §4-137e(c) states that general bids for public building contracts “shall be publicly opened and read by the awarding authority forthwith.”

    Under Conn. Gen. Stat. §7-314(b), the records and meetings of a volunteer fire department which is established by municipal charter or constituted as a non-profit Connecticut corporation are exempt from FOIA if they concern fraternal and social matters, but not if they concern matters of public safety, expenditures of public funds, or other public business. For a decision under an earlier statute, see Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 v. FOIC, 212 Conn. 100, 561 A.2d 429 (1989); see also O'Connell v. FOIC, 54 Conn. App. 373, 735 A.2d 363 (1999).

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  • Delaware

    Contracts, proposals and bids are not exempt. Bids, bid summaries and tabulations may be sealed prior to a contract award but must be available for public inspection after a contract is awarded, unless the bids or portions thereof are otherwise exempt. 29 Del. C. § 6923(c)(3), (j)(4); Del. Op. Att’y Gen., No. 18-IB26 (May 25, 2018).

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  • District of Columbia

    Information in or taken from any contract dealing with the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds by public bodies must be disclosed in accordance with D.C. Code Ann. § 2-536(a)(6). In other instances, the financial information and trade secret exemption, D.C. Code Ann. § 2-534(a), may come into play. Shaw Coal. Redevelopment Corp. v. Office of the Assistant City Adm'r for Econ. Dev., FOIA App. No. 90-20 (Office of the Mayor, July 17, 1994).

    A public body must make available for inspection and copying any record produced or collected pursuant to a contract with a private contractor to perform a public function. The public body with programmatic responsibility for the contractor shall be responsible for making such records available to the same extent as if the records were maintained by the public body. D.C. Code Ann. § 2-532(a-3).

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  • Florida

    Fla. Stat. section 119.071(1)(b) (2020) provides that sealed bids or proposals received by an agency pursuant to invitations to bid or requests for proposals are exempt from disclosure until such time as the bids or proposals are opened. However, submissions which are not technically “bids” may be subject to inspection. See Op. Att’y Gen. Fla. 74-245 (1974) (subjecting to inspection as a public record developer’s plan submitted to flood control district for review and recommendation).

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  • Georgia

    The Act does not exempt contracts, proposals, or bids.  However, sealed bids or sealed proposals and detailed cost estimates related thereto may be withheld from disclosure until such time as the final award of the contract is made, the project is terminated or abandoned, or the agency in possession of the records takes a public vote regarding the sealed bid or sealed proposal, whichever comes first.  O.C.G.A. § 50-18-72(a)(10).

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  • Hawaii

    Agencies need to make available for public inspection and duplication "government purchasing information including all bid results except to the extent prohibited by section 92F-13." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-12(a)(3); compare Public Inspection of Gov't Contract Lump Sum Bid Price Components, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-15 (Apr. 9, 1990) (refusing to protect from disclosure to low bidder and public information on component prices contained in unsuccessful bids) with Nordic/PCL's Subcontracts for the Convention Center, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 97-4 (Apr. 22, 1997) (costs set forth in subcontracts for the design and construction of the convention center constituted confidential commercial and financial information that is not required to be disclosed since disclosure is likely to cause the builder substantial competitive harm).

    Upon request, agencies must also disclose records "[r]egarding contract hires and consultants employed by agencies: the contract itself, the amount of compensation, the duration of the contract, and the objectives of the contract." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-12(a)(10); but see Attachments to HVB Contract, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 92-17 (Sept. 2, 1992) (protecting under Section 92F-14(b)(6) contract information regarding individual employees' salaries).

    In 1994, OIP stated its opinion that prior to the deadline for the submission of a bid to an agency, that agency is not required to disclose the identity of persons who have received bid solicitations or submitted a bid. List of Person Attending Bidders' Conference and Notices of Intent to Bid, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 94-26 (Dec. 15, 1994). However, after the deadline for submission such information must be made available. Id.

    Under the UIPA’s exception for “frustration of a legitimate government function,” the State Procurement Office is not required to disclose information in protests submitted before a contract award that may identify and provide information about prospective offerors and information that may be included in their proposals. Protests Filed on Requests For Proposals, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 09-02 (Sept. 9, 2009).

    Despite the fact that release of payroll information may invade the privacy of individuals involved, Section 92F-12(a)(9) requires disclosure of the certified payroll records of public works contracts except that Social Security numbers of individuals shall not be disclosed. Certified Payroll Records, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 89-8 (Nov. 20, 1989).

    The OIP also opined that a community hospital must disclose the eligible charges — the amounts that a health care benefits company uses to calculate and reimburse a hospital for medical services — contained in contracts between the hospital and private health care benefits companies. Kona Community Hospital Inpatient Contracts, OIP Ltr. Op. No. 98-2 (Apr. 24, 1998). The OIP noted that an agency is not required to disclose information if (1) the information is confidential business information and (2) if doing so would frustrate the agency's legitimate government function. Id.

    The results under UIPA are not too different from those produced by opinions issued in years past. In one pre-UIPA incident, the Department of Health awarded a contract for the printing of its newsletter. The amount involved was under $4,000 so that formal bidding procedures were not required. However, the department asked several companies to submit cost estimates. When an unsuccessful bidder asked the department to disclose the amount of the successful bid, the department refused. After consultation with the ombudsman, the department agreed to provide the information about the successful bid. Ombudsman Op. 82-2277.

    However, when the Department of Transportation received a request for information concerning the number of persons intending to bid on a certain contract, the ombudsman, in consultation with the attorney general, determined that the names and number of persons submitting bids must be held confidential until after the Department opened the bids. Ombudsman Op. 82-67. Section 102-3 prohibits the disclosure of the names and numbers of persons who have submitted a notice of intent to bid until after the opening of bids. Accord Applicability of UIPA to Aloha Tower Dev. Proposals, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 89-15, at 5 (Dec. 20, 1989) (refusing public disclosure of proposals pending execution of final negotiations and citing frustration of legitimate government function).

    When Common Cause Hawaii requested access to proposals submitted to the City Housing Department pursuant to a design/bid competition, the Corporation Counsel held that such proposals are public records open to inspection unless release of the information would (a) violate personal privacy, (b) reveal trade secrets, or (c) impair present or imminent contract awards. In order to justify withholding information, Corporation Counsel stated, "the burden is on the party to prove that the information is a trade secret." In addition, the public's interest in disclosure must be balanced against any reasons alleged to justify withholding of records from it. Honolulu Corp. Counsel Op. M84-15 (Apr. 12, 1984).

    Non-UIPA statutory provisions may also call for disclosure. For instance, any person desiring to see the record books of an auctioneer may inspect them during regular business hours. The records must include an inventory of items offered for sale in each public auction. The state director of finance has no authority to grant or deny any person the right to inspect auctioneers' records. Honolulu Corp. Counsel Op. M78-54 (May 31, 1978).

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  • Idaho

    Contracts, proposals and bids are subject to public inspection and copying after bids are opened or after the contract is awarded. Idaho Code 74-107(4).

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  • Illinois

    Final contracts are not exempt. Proposals and bids for contracts, grants or agreements are closed by 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(h). In general, the statute protects competitive business information.  See also 5 ILCS 140/7(1)(g), (t), (s), (u).

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  • Indiana

    The Access to Public Records Act does not specifically address such items, which are subject to disclosure under the general provisions of the statute. However, the statute excepts intra-agency or inter-agency deliberative material developed by a private or public contract. See Ind. Code § 5-14-3-4(b)(6).

    State bidding laws require sealed bids. Ind. Code § 4-13.6-5-8. After the bids are opened, they are subject to public inspection and copying. Ind. Code § 4-13.6-2-9. Records of negotiations with certain enumerated agencies need not be disclosed while negotiations are in progress. Ind. Code § 5-14-3-4(b)(5).  After negotiations have terminated, the terms of a final offer shall be disclosed.  Id.

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  • Iowa

    Reports evaluated and recommendations prepared by the state which concern bids (for the purchase of real or personal property as set forth in Iowa Code § 22.7(7) are closed until accepted. 79 Op. Att'y Gen. 19, 21 (March 9, 1979).

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  • Kansas

    The following are exempt from disclosure: plans, designs, drawings or specifications which are the property of a private person (K.S.A. 45-221(a)(18)); specifications for competitive bidding (K.S.A. 45-221(a)(27)); sealed bids and related documents (K.S.A. 45-221(a)(28)); the bidder's list of contractors (K.S.A. 45-221(a)(32)); and engineering and architectural estimates made by or for any public agency relative to public improvements (K.S.A. 45-221(a)(33)).

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  • Kentucky

    Generally, materials, correspondence, and transactions relating to bidding on a contract with a public agency are open to public inspection once the bids are open. In 2018, the Kentucky General Assembly added a specific exemption to the Open Records Act for:

    Records of a procurement process under KRS Chapter 45A or 56. This exemption shall not apply after:

    1. A contract is awarded; or
    2. The procurement process is canceled without award of a contract and there is a determination that the contract will not be resolicited.

    Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.878(1)(o).

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  • Louisiana

    Open except to the extent that they contain otherwise non-public information. See Op. Att'y Gen. 95-7 (management contract entered into by and between hospital and a hospital management firm is subject to Public Records Act, except for portions which would reveal the marketing strategy or strategic plan of the hospital, as prohibited by La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 46:1073); See also Ops. Att'y Gen. 92-698, 89-550, 89-598 and 83-493 (all indicating that proprietary and financial information of private persons and companies is exempt from disclosure). Note, however, that the Office of the Attorney General stated in 1995 that it is still an open question best left to courts whether constitutional right of privacy applies to third-party financial information notwithstanding the Public Records Act. Op. Att'y Gen. 95-254A.

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  • Maine

    All contracts of public agencies, state and local, are public records from the time of execution or opening of the bids.  Maine’s generally applicable competitive bidding laws provide that any proposal for services is a public record once a contract has been awarded.  See 5 M.R.S.A. § 1825-B(6) (“Each bid, with the name of the bidder, must be entered on a record.  Each record, with the successful bid indicated, must be open to public inspection after the letting of the contract.”); and 18-554 C.M.R. Ch. 110 § 2(A)(v) (“All proposals shall be sequestered . . . until notification of award by the contracting agency after which time they become public record.”).  Sealed proposals submitted for competitive bidding shall remain sealed until the time and place specified in the advertisement for the bids. 5 M.R.S.A. § 1745 (“Sealed proposals for any public improvements . . . shall remain sealed until opened at the time and place stated in the advertisement or as the Governor may direct.”).

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  • Maryland

    This information ordinarily falls under the confidential commercial or financial information exemption of the PIA, which is substantially similar to the federal exemption under the FOIA. As such, the records are generally closed pursuant to § 4-335. Also, inspections shall be denied where the records sought contain information generated by the bid analysis management system and concerns an investigation based on a transportation contractor's suspected collusive or anticompetitive activity. § 4-337. Additionally, disclosure of any part of the public record containing procurement information generated by the federal government or another state resulting from an investigation into suspected collusive or anticompetitive activity on the part of a transportation contract is exempt from disclosure. Id.

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  • Massachusetts

    Bids and proposals are not available until after bids have been opened or time for receipt of bids has expired. G.L. c. 4, § 7, cl. 26(h). Fiscal statements filed by governmental contractors are normally not available. See G.L. c. 30, § 39R(f). Certain contracts for hospital or related health care services, if between a government-operated medical facility and another entity specifically described in the Public Records Law, may be withheld pursuant to exemption (m). G.L. c. 4, § 26(m).

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  • Michigan

    A public body need not disclose a bid or proposal to enter into a contract or agreement "until the time for the public opening of bids or proposals, or if a public opening is not to be conducted, until the time for the receipt of bids or proposals has expired." Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 15.243(1)(i); see also Nicita v. City of Detroit, 194 Mich. App. 657, 487 N.W.2d 814, 819 (1992) (exemption applies only to a competitive bidding process where bids are solicited but not to unsolicited bids).

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  • Minnesota

    Sealed bids are classified as private data prior to the opening of the bids. Minn. Stat. § 13.37, subd. 2(a). The same is true for transportation construction project estimates. Minn. Stat. § 13.72, subd. 1.
    In addition, a government entity contracting with a federal agency may be required by the agency to keep government data collected or maintained as a result of the contract private. Minn. Stat. § 13.35.

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  • Mississippi

    Open unless considered appraisal information. See § 31-1-27; Att’y Gen. No. 90-181, March 21, 1990 to Tabb. An insurance policy, plan description, rate structure and renewal notice are public records.  Att’y Gen. No. 2007-534, Oct. 19, 2007 to Morgan.

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  • Missouri

    Most contracts with a public governmental body are subject to disclosure. However, access to specifications for competitor bidding and sealed bids and related documents is restricted under Mo.Rev.Stat. § 610.021(11), (12).

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  • Montana

    Open. See Great Falls Tribune Co. Inc. v. Day, 959 P.2d 508 (1998).

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  • Nebraska

    "Appraisals or appraisal information and negotiation records, concerning the purchase or sale, by a public body, of any interest in real or personal property, prior to completion of the purchase or sale" are exempt from disclosure. Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(6).

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  • Nevada

    Presumably closed. Invitations to bid are open. Nev. Op. Att'y Gen. 94-06 (April 7, 1994).

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  • New Hampshire

    Contract records are public records unless they are exempt from the Statute because they relate to the "acquisition, sale or lease of real or personal property which, if discussed in public, would likely benefit a party or parties whose interests are adverse to those of the general community," RSA 91-A:3, II, (d), or they constitute a preliminary draft under RSA 91-A:5, IX. See Gallagher v. Town of Windham, 121 N.H. 156 (1981).

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  • New Jersey

    N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1.1 exempts from the definition of government record information that, if disclosed, would give an advantage to competitors or bidders.

    Pursuant to Asbury Park Press v. County of Monmouth, 201 N.J. 5 (2010), OPRA requires disclosure of settlement agreements between public entities and former employees.

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  • New Mexico

    Contracts that a state agency enters into for the lease, sale or development of state land and state contracts that provide for more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) are public records. Such contracts shall include: (a) the name of the recipient of the contract; (b) the purpose of the contract; (c) the amounts expended on the contract (d) a copy of or an internet website link to a copy of the contract document, including amendments; and (e) a copy of or an internet website link to a copy of a resident certificate issued pursuant to NMSA 1987 Section 13-1-22 and used in the award of a contract. Bids are only public after an award of the contract.   NMSA 1978 § 10-16D-3(D)(4).

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  • New York

    An agency may deny access to records or portions thereof if disclosure would impair present or imminent contract awards. N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 87(2)(c) (McKinney 1988).

    For cases on proposals and bids, see N.Y. Racing Ass’n, Inc. v. State, Racing and Wagering Bd., 21 Misc.3d 379, 863 N.Y.S.2d 540 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2008) (holding that release of documents concerning confidential bidding correspondence in connection with a state contract between private corporation and state agency was exempt from disclosure under FOIL, as the request documents were “proprietary trade information”); City of Schenectady v. O’Keeffe, 50 A.D.3d 1384, 856 N.Y.S.2d 281 (3d Dep’t 2008) (holding that records pertaining to a public utility’s franchise and right-of-way agreement with a state agency, and which contained cost and inventory data identifying and tracking all of the utility’s property assets that are employed along the right-of-way and used to transmit and distribute electricity, was exempt from disclosure as a trade secret, the release of which would cause substantial competitive injury); Professional Standards Review of Am. v. New York State Dep’t of Health, 193 A.D.2d 937 (3d Dep’t 1993) (granting access to contract bid submitted by private organization and to factual and statistical data used by agency in making its final determination to award the contract); P. J. Garvey Carting and Storage Inc. v. Cty. of Erie, 125 A.D.2d 972, 510 N.Y.S.2d 365 (4th Dep’t 1986) (unsuccessful bidder unable to get damages for release of its “route list” by county in solicitation of bids); Contracting Plumbers Cooperative Restoration Corp. v. Ameruso, 105 Misc.2d 951, 430 N.Y.S.2d 196 (Sup. Ct. 1980) (granting unsuccessful bidder access to successful bid proposal).

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  • North Carolina

    The competitive bidding statute, G.S. § 143-52, provides that every bid or proposal which is submitted to the state and which “conforms to the terms of the invitation” shall become a matter of public record and shall, following the award of the contract, “be open to public inspection.” However, “trade secrets, test data and similar proprietary information” included in a bid or proposal may remain confidential.

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  • North Dakota

    Bids or proposals received by a public entity in response to a request for proposals by the public entity are exempt until all of the proposals have been received and opened by the public entity or until all oral presentations regarding the proposals, if any, have been heard by the public entity. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.4. Records included with any bid or proposal naming and generally describing the entity submitting the proposal are open. N.D.C.C. § 44-04-18.4.

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  • Ohio

    Certain financial records and contracts of entities which have entered into agreements with public agencies are public records, subject to exceptions that identify patients, or contain confidential professional services. Ohio Revised Code § 149.431.

    Competitive bids are open for public inspection and copying when unsealed in accordance with the notice given to the bidders. Ohio Rev. Code § 735.06. Trade secrets contained in bid applications remain exempt from disclosure unless there is a waiver. State ex rel. Fisher v. PRC Pub. Sector, Inc., 99 Ohio App. 3d 387, 393, 650 N.E.2d 945, 948 (1994) (“trade secrets are protected from disclosure under R.C. 149.43 unless there is a statutory waiver. There is no statutory waiver in this case, nor is there an agreement between the bidders and the state to waive trade secret protection upon submitting proposals.”).

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  • Oklahoma

    Confidential to the extent that disclosure would give an unfair advantage to competitors or bidders. 51 O.S. § 24A.10. Taped conversations made in connection with the bidding process between the State Treasurer and outside securities firms are subject to the Act. 1993 OK AG 2.

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  • Pennsylvania

    All contracts “where the consideration involved” is valued at $5,000 must be retained and disclosed to the Treasury Department. 65 Pa. Stat. § 67.1701.  Further, all “financial records” are presumptively available under the Law. Id. (defining a “public record” to include a “financial record”); see also Dep’t of Conservation and Natural Res. v. Office of Open Records, 1 A.3d 929, 940-41 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2010) (citing, with approval, interpretations of the “contracts” language in the old act); Envirotest Partners v. Commonwealth Dep’t of Transp., 664 A.2d 208, 212 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1995) (interpreting the old act); Ryan v. Pa. Higher Educ. Assistance Agency, 448 A.2d 669 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 1982) (interpreting the old act).

    Proposals and bids are exempt from disclosure “prior to the award of the contract or prior to the opening and rejection of all bids.” 65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.708(b)(26). In addition, the Law specifically exempts “financial information of a bidder or offeror requested in an invitation for bid or request for proposals to demonstrate the bidder’s or offeror’s economic capability.” Id.

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  • Rhode Island

    No specific exemption. Partially within the scope of Exemption (N), which includes “real estate appraisals, engineering or feasibility estimates and evaluations made for or by an agency relative to the acquisition of property or prospective public supply and construction contracts, until such time as all of the property has been acquired or all proceedings or transactions have been terminated or abandoned.”  R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-2(4)(i)(N).  For documents of this type which are deemed public, the restriction in R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-6 would be applicable, in that the information therein cannot be used to obtain a commercial advantage over the party that furnished that information to the public body.

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  • South Carolina

    Documents incidental to proposed contractual arrangements and proposed sales or purchases of property are closed until the transaction has been completed. S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(a)(5). Under the state's procurement code procurement information is made public with the exception of competitive information of the type not normally released to the general public. S.C. Code Ann. § 11-35-410. Bids are to be opened publicly.

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  • South Dakota

    Public contracts are open. SDCL §1-27-4.1. Proposals and bids should also be open, in the absence of a specific exemption or exclusion. See SDCL §5-18, generally, regarding bidding process.

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  • Tennessee

    Generally closed. See T.C.A. § 12-3-202.

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  • Texas

    All contracts dealing with the receipt or expenditure of a governmental body's funds are specifically made public unless otherwise made confidential by law. Tex. Gov't Code. Tex. Gov’t Code § 552.022(a)(3). The general terms of a contract with the government cannot be withheld under the Act unless the government meets a heightened burden of showing that a particular exception applies. Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-514 (1988). Two exceptions frequently claimed deal with harm to the government's position with competitors or bidders and trade secrets. Tex. Gov’t Code § 552.104. For example, one section of a proposal to furnish services was found to be an exempt trade secret even though the company making the proposal ultimately received the contract. Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-305 (1982). The names of individuals or companies who wish to be informed of the opportunity to bid is public although the list of actual bidders (before the last day of bidding) can be exempt from disclosure. Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-453 (1986). Upon completion of the bidding and award of the contract, the bids are public. Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-184 (1978). Because Section 552.104 applies only when release of information would cause specific harm to a governmental body "in a particular competitive situation . . . [this exception] does not apply after bidding is over and the contract has been awarded." Tex. Att'y Gen. ORD-509 (1988). Certain "trade secret" information in bid proposals, however, may remain exempt. Id. For example, a financial statement submitted by a bidder may be exempt under Section 552.110. Op. Tex. Att'y Gen. No. GA-10830 (2005). As amended in 2019, this exemption does not apply to information relating to the receipt or expenditure of taxpayer funds by a governing body for a parade, concert, or other entertainment event open to the general public. Tex. Gov’t Code § 552.104(c).

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  • Utah

    1. Documentation of compensation that a government entity pays to a contractor or private provider is generally public. See Utah Code § 63G-2-301(2)(j).

    2. Contracts entered into by a government entity are “normally public.” Id. § 63G-2-301(3)(d).

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  • Vermont

    Open except to the extent they contain information subject to an exemption, such as: “information pertaining to appraisals or purchase price of real or personal property for public purposes,” which is exempt from disclosure prior to the formal award of the contracts, see 1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(13), trade secrets or confidential business records, id. at (c)(9), or financial information submitted in connection with agency business, id. at (c)(6).  The Vermont Supreme Court has, however, read the exemption regarding trade secrets broadly enough to include records submitted by bidders to state agencies when competing for government contracts.  See Springfield Terminal Ry. Co. v. Agency of Transp., 174 Vt. 341, 349, 816 A.2d 448, 455 (Vt. 2002) (refusing to “interpret § 317(c)(9) in a manner that causes potential contractors and service providers to withhold information essential to the state in its selection process of competitive bids”); see also Long v. City of Burlington, 2018 VT 103, ¶ 27 (Vt. 2018) (affirming denial of  public records request seeking an unredacted financial feasibility study provided by a private developer to a contractor hired by the City of Burlington to assess the viability of the developer’s plans).

    Moreover, “[r]ecords relating specifically to negotiation of contracts, including collective bargaining agreements with public employees” are exempt from disclosure.  1 V.S.A. § 317(c)(15); see also Negotiations Comm. of Caledonia Cent. Supervisory Union v. Caledonia Cent. Educ. Ass’n, 2018 VT 18, ¶¶ 24-25 (Vt. 2018).

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  • Virginia

    Records relating to procurement transactions are subject to the Act, as modified by the Virginia Public Procurement Act. Cost estimates prepared for a public body engaged in procurement may be withheld. See generally Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-4342; see also Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3705.7.4. (cost estimates of Department of Transportation). Contracts are generally open for inspection after they are awarded. The Act has a broad exclusion for records relating to public-private partnerships under the Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995 and the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002. Va. Code Ann. 2.2-3705.6.11.

    Contracts between public officers and a public body may not be withheld. However, contracts settling public employee employment disputes are held confidential as personnel records. Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3705.1.1.  Financial records relating to settlement payments must be disclosed.  LeMond v. McElroy, 239 Va. 515, 521, 391 S.E.2d 309, 313 (1990).

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  • Washington

    Information relating to ferry and highway construction, and railroad and export services bids may be withheld, although summaries of railroad contracts are open. RCW 42.56.270.

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  • West Virginia

    Public contracts are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act and, in 4-H Road Cmty. Ass’n v. WVU Foundation, 182 W. Va. 434, 388 S.E.2d 308 (1989), the Supreme Court observed that leases between West Virginia University and other parties were public documents subject to disclosure by the University under the FOIA.

    The statute providing for a competitive bidding procedure prescribed by statute for most state contracts provides that, the "books, accounts and records" of the Purchasing Division of the West Virginia Department of Administration are public records, and the director of the division is required to make such records available for inspection by any state taxpayer at all proper times. W. Va. Code § 5A-3-2. Also, West Virginia Code section 5A-3-11(h) provides that, following the award of an open market order or contract, the director, or his/her designee is required to identify successful bids. A copy of each such bid must be maintained as a public record and be "open to public inspection in the office of the director and may not be destroyed without the written consent of the Legislative Auditor." W. Va. Code § 5A-3-11(h).

    There is no express exemption in the FOIA for bids or proposals on public contracts prior to the award of the contract. However, the provisions of the latter statute, West Virginia Code section 5A-3-11(h), probably would be sufficient to keep such documents exempt from disclosure until the contract is awarded.

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  • Wisconsin

    Contracts, proposals and bids are subject to the balancing test, but may be closed if competitive or bargaining reasons require. Cf. Wis. Stat. § 19.85(1)(e), § 19.35(1)(a).

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  • Wyoming

    All are subject to the Public Records Act. For example, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that requesters are entitled to records related to an airport board’s deal with a jet operator. Wyoming Jet Ctr. v. Jackson Hole Airport Board, 432 P.3d 910 (Wyo. 2019),

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