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III. Record categories - open or closed


  • Alabama

    Beyond the categories listed below, the following records are also available to the public by specific law, case law, or attorney general opinion:

    1. Aeronautics

    a. Civil Air Patrol: current lists of license tags in each county issued to amateur radio operators licensed by the Civil Air Patrol. Ala. Code § 32-6-92.

    2. Agriculture

    a. Alabama Agricultural and Conservation Development Commission: all records of the Commission. Ala. Code § 9-8A-3(e).

    3. Conservation and Natural Resources

    a. State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: all records, except confidential reports and accident reports for vessels. Ala. Code § 33-5-7.

    4. Courts

    a. Circuit court register's office: records of the office, when not in use by the register. Ala. Code § 12-17-119.

    b. County juror commissions: master list of jurors. Ala. Code § 12-16-57(c).

    c. County Probate Judge's Office: records "regarding license plates issued for state vehicles other than unmarked state vehicles that are used for investigative or surveillance work in law enforcement." Birmingham News Co. v. Hobbie, 12 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1687, 1688 (Cir. Ct. Montgomery Cnty., Ala., Dec. 20, 1985); see also Ala. Code § 12-13-50 (1995) ("The records of the office [of probate judge] must be free for the examination of all persons when not in use by the judge, whether such persons are interested in such records or not.").

    5. Criminal Procedure

    a. Sheriff's office: records of prisoners, execution or order of sale of property, and sales of property. Ala. Code § 36-22-13; pistol licenses. TV Ala. Inc. v. Woodward, No. CV-9707688 (Cir. Ct. Jefferson Cnty., Ala., Dec. 17, 1997); the front side of incident/offense reports. Washington Cnty. Publ'ns v. Wheat, No. CV-99-94 (Cir. Ct. Washington Cnty., Ala., May 1, 2000). However, personal identifiers in pistol permits should be redacted when requested for non-law enforcement purposes.  Ala. Code § 13-11-75(f).

    b. State Department of Corrections: inmate work release rosters, including the inmate's name, the specific location of the inmate, the inmate's place of employment, and the crime for which the inmate is incarcerated. 200 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 25 (Aug. 20, 1985).

    6. Environmental Control

    a. State Air Pollution Control Act: records, reports and information gathered pursuant to agency authority, except for trade secrets. Ala. Code § 22-28-20(a).

    b. State Hazard Waste Management Act: records, reports and information gathered pursuant to agency authority, except for trade secrets. Ala. Code § 22-30-18.

    c. State Underground Storage Tank and Wellhead Protection Act: records, reports and information gathered pursuant to agency authority, except for trade secrets. Ala. Code § 22-36-8.

    d. Water Pollution Control Commission: records and reports gathered pursuant to agency authority, except for trade secret, profit, production and sales information. Ala. Code § 22-22-9(c).

    7. Fire Marshal

    a. Alabama Fire Fighters' Personnel Standards and Education Commission: bylaws and regulations. Ala. Code § 36-32-6.

    b. State Fire Marshal: records of all fires occurring in the state, except that testimony taken in a fire investigation may be withheld at the Marshal's discretion. Ala. Code § 36-19-25.

    8. Government, Local

    a. Board of adjustment: minutes of proceedings, including the vote of each member upon each question, and records of examinations and other actions. Ala. Code § 11-52-80(b).

    b. City council in mayor-council form of government: a record of the proceedings of every meeting. Ala. Code § 11-44C-28; § 11-44E-51; § 11-44B-6(f).

    c. City council in council-manager form of government: a journal of proceedings of every meeting. Ala. Code § 11-43A-24; § 11-43A-86; § 11-43A-90.

    d. Municipal planning commissions: record of resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations. Ala. Code § 11-52-4.

    9. Government, State

    a. Administrative procedure: contested cases: the recording or stenographic notes of oral proceedings or the transcription thereof, except in cases where private hearings are authorized by law, or where the proceedings are ordered sealed by order of court or are required to be sealed by statute. Ala. Code § 41-22-12(h).

    b. Alabama Housing Finance Authority Board of Directors: all records of the Board. Ala. Code § 24-1A-4(d); see also Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. No. 2001-063 (Jan. 5, 2001).

    c. State Ethics Commission: reports and statements filed with commission shall be available during regular business hours and online via the internet. Ala. Code § 36-25-4(a)(5).

    10. Health Care

    a. Alabama Board of Examiners of Counseling: records, orders and judgments. 4 Ala. Admin. Code r. 255-X-1-.07.

    b. Alabama Medicaid Agency: uniform cost reports filed by providers with the Agency. 184 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 27 (Aug. 25, 1981).

    c. State Nursing Board: names of nurses whose licenses have been revoked. 167 Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. 28 (May 4, 1997) (based upon statutory provisions that have been revised and replaced by Alabama Code § 34-21-25, but arguably still good law for this point); see also Ala. Code § 34-21-25 (j)(6) ("The records of a licensee who fails to comply with the program agreement or who leaves the state prior to the successful completion of the program shall not be deemed confidential.").

    11. Highway Department

    a. State Highway Department: files and records, including plans and specifications. Ala. Code § 23-1-34.

    12. Railroads

    a. Northeast Mississippi-Northwest Alabama Railroad Authority Compact Board of Directors: records of the Authority and the Board. Ala. Code § 37-11A-1 art. IV.

    13. Veterinarians

    a. Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners: complete and accurate records of all meetings, except the records of closed meetings to prepare, approve, administer or grade examinations or to deliberate qualifications of a proceeding to discipline a licensed veterinarian. Ala. Code § 34-29-66(b)(8).

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  • Arizona

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

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  • Arkansas

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

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  • Connecticut

    (This section is blank. See the subpoints below.)

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  • Hawaii

    Specific record categories listed in Section 92F-12 must be disclosed regardless of the applicability of grounds for applying any of the policy-based exemptions enumerated in Section 92F-13.

    Other categories:

    Civil Investigations.

    Section 92F-13(2) excepts from disclosure government records pertaining to the prosecution or defense of any judicial or quasi-judicial action to which the State or any county is or may be a party to the extent that such records would not be discoverable. Section 92F-13(3) excepts from the UIPA's disclosure requirement government records that, by their nature, must be confidential in order for the government to avoid the frustration of a legitimate government function. See, e.g., Identities of Complainants to Department of Health Alleging Violations of Hawaii Labeling Laws, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 99-7 (Nov. 3, 1999) (Department of Health could withhold identities of informants by redacting the name and any information that could lead to the identification of the individual).

    Section 96-9 requires the Ombudsman to "maintain secrecy" in respect to all matters and identities of complainants or witnesses.

    Investigative reports are confidential if their disclosure would likely interfere with agency law enforcement activities, frustrate a legitimate government function, or reveal deliberative processes. An examination of all factors is necessary to determine whether such reports must be disclosed. See, e.g., RFO 98-004 - Honolulu Police Department; Request for Opinion on The Honolulu Advertiser; Request for Internal Affairs Reports, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 98-5 (Dec. 20, 1998) (opining that redacting portions of the report is appropriate to protect privacy interests and to prevent frustrating the agency's ability to conduct full and accurate investigations); DLNR Investigation Report Concerning the Pacific Whale Foundation, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-9 (July 18, 1991) (focusing on possible legal action as grounds for precluding disclosure of Department of Land and Natural Resources investigational report to a state legislator); Investigative Reports Concerning Molokai Ranch Ltd. and Perreira Ranch, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-6 (May 2, 1991) (holding that Department of Agriculture investigative reports concerning corporate agricultural operations are disclosable because the reports did not reveal confidential sources, deprive anyone of a right to an impartial adjudication, or reveal enforcement techniques or procedures).

    On the other hand, in addressing access to an investigative report, the OIP has opined that an individual who filed a complaint with the Maui Police Commission must be permitted access to the Commission's investigative report under Part III of the UIPA, which permits individuals to access their own personal records. Disclosure of Police Commission File to Complaining Party, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 95-19 (Aug. 1, 1995). Upon finding that the investigative report was the complainant's and the officer's personal record, the OIP determined that the complainant could inspect and copy the record. Id.

    License and Permit Applications.

    Section 92F-14(b)(7) provides that "[i]nformation compiled as part of an inquiry into an individual's fitness to be granted or to retain a license" is information in which an individual has a substantial privacy interest, but excludes: (a) the record of disciplinary proceedings, (b) information on the current place of employment and required insurance coverage, and (c) the record of complaints. Cf. Access to Contractors License Application Experience Certificates Prior to the Contractors License Board Approval of the Application, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 97-10 (Dec. 30, 1997) (finding a significant privacy interest in experience certificates submitted with an application for a contractors license); Legislative Access to Professional and Vocational Licensing Application Data, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-10 (Feb. 26, 1990) (prohibiting even interagency disclosure and citing privacy concerns of both the UIPA and prior law); c.f. Applications for Appointments to Boards and Commissions, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-8 (June 24, 1991) (allowing interagency disclosure to the legislature of application information submitted to the governor's office but requiring confidentiality pursuant to privacy interests of applicants). But see Painting Industry of Hawaii Market Recovery Fund v. Alm, 69 Haw. 449, 453-54, 746 P.2d 79, 82 (1987) (refusing to protect licensing violation settlement agreement); Clarification of OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-1, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-11 (July 30, 1991) (requiring disclosure pursuant to Section 452-9 governing applications received by the Board of Massage), superseding Public Access to Massage Therapist License Applications, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-1 (Feb. 15, 1991) (refusing access to pending applications under Section 92F-14(b)(7)). The law does not protect from disclosure "[r]osters of persons holding licenses or permits granted by an agency . . . ." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-12(a)(13) (Supp. 1999) (requiring disclosure).

    The Professional and Vocational Licensing Division of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs licenses various professionals. It maintains a computerized roster showing the name, address, and type of license held by each individual licensee. The names and type of license held by each individual are matters of public record. Att'y Gen. Op. Ltr. No. 84-13 (Dec. 18, 1984); see also OIP Op. Ltr. No. 91-11 (July 30, 1991) (concerning statutorily mandated disclosure of massage therapist license applications).

    Vessel Registration Application forms are generally a matter of public record provided that certain personal information is segregated. Vessel Registration Information, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 99-3 (June 1, 1999). If an application is granted, the vessel registration applications may be disclosed only after segregation of the home address, home telephone number, date of birth and citizenship. Id. If the application is not granted, the name of the applicant should also be redacted. Id.

    No comparable privacy interest exists for corporate entities. For instance, the Hawaii courts held that the City Building Department must permit public inspection of building permit applications, including all plans, specifications, and other documentation submitted to it, i.e., in connection with a condominium development. Pauoa-Pacific Heights Community Group vs. Building Dept., Civ. No. 59632 (Haw. 1st Cir. Nov. 7, 1979). The UIPA now explicitly requires the disclosure of building permit information within the control of an agency. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-12(a)(11). If architectural plans are protected by copyright, additional precautions may be necessary, but the copyright laws are not, in themselves, grounds for nondisclosure. Reconsideration of OIP Opinion Letter No. 90-20 Regarding Public Inspection and Duplication of Building Plans and Permit Applications, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 99-5 (Oct. 19, 1999) (reaffirming prior opinion that section 92F-12(a)(11) which mandates disclosure of building permit information includes information submitted before and after the issuance of a building permit); Public Inspection and Duplication of Building Plans and Permit Applications, OIP Op. Ltr. No. 90-20 (June 12, 1990).

    License and permit applications (non-commercial)

    A recent OIP decision indicated that Hawai‘i government agencies may be required to disclose the names, if not other personal information, of visitors to Hawai‘i state land or facilities that are managed by the government and require permits for access.  See Visitor Permits for the Kalaupapa Settlement, OIP Op. Ltr. No. F16-04 (May 26, 2016).  In that opinion, the OIP determined that the state Department of Health (“DOH”) must disclose the names of all applicants for Visitor Permits to visit the Kalaupapa Settlement (“KS”) on Moloka‘i.  KS is a government-run facility that receives regular visits from tourists and others, who must apply to the DOH for a permit before visiting.  The OIP held that the DOH, in line with its obligation to disclose “[r]osters of persons holding licenses or permits granted by an agency” (HRS § 92F-12(a)(13),” must disclose each visitor’s name.  Id.  The DOH was required to redact private information about the individuals, including their ages, home addresses, and personal telephone numbers.

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  • Illinois

    The following is only a very general opinion of whether the record in question is exempt from disclosure. Whether disclosure can be denied may depend on how the record is being used by the public body that has possession. Private individuals’ bank records, for example, are not public records, but if they are introduced into evidence in a court proceeding, they may become public records. This transformation may occur in other contexts. The general rule is that if it is a record kept by a public body (see definitions), it is an open record unless it is exempted by the provisions of the Act. (The reference following each entry refers to the specific statutory exemption.)

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  • Kansas

    Records defined to be “public records” under K.S.A. 45-217(g) are subject to disclosure unless an agency chooses not to disclose the requested record based on one or more of the exceptions set forth in K.S.A. 45-221.

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  • Kentucky

    The exemptions to Kentucky’s Open Records Act are set forth at Ky. Rev. Stat. 61.878(1). Unless an exemption applies, all public records are presumptively open for public inspection.

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  • Mississippi

    A general rule of thumb under Mississippi law: “Any doubt about whether records should be disclosed should be resolved in favor of disclosure.”  Harrison County Development Comm’n v. Kinney, 920 So.2d 497, 502 (Miss. Ct. App. 2006).

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  • North Dakota

    North Dakota law states that all public records are open records unless there is a specific statutory exception.

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  • Oregon

    Under the general authority of ORS 192.355(9) (formerly 192.502(9)), the Oregon Legislature has retained significant authority to limit disclosure of specific records provided to or compiled by particular agencies.

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  • Utah

    The following list is not exhaustive, but it identifies several Utah statutory provisions, including those outside of GRAMA, which govern access to particular record categories. To determine whether a particular record is open to inspection, requesters should consult the Division of State Archives and the agency that actually maintains the record. In addition, the State General Retention Schedule, available from the Division of State Archives, contains a summary of the classifications assigned to common records.

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  • Vermont

    There are no court decisions or attorney general opinions dealing with specific categories or types of records, other than as mentioned in connection with the express statutory exemptions. See 1 V.S.A. §§ 317(c)(1) through (35); Part II(A)(2), supra.

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  • West Virginia

    As noted in the last section, the only exemptions available under the Freedom of Information Act are the twenty-one categories of information specifically identified in the statute. This section addresses the availability under FOIA and other West Virginia statutes of certain specific types of records for which requests are frequently made. W. Va. Code §  29B-1-4(5) (FOIA exemption five recognizes that other statutes may exempt certain categories of information that would otherwise be available for public review.)

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