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IV. Procedure for obtaining records

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  • Alaska

    In 1990, substantial revisions were made to the Public Records Act, primarily to deal with access to electronic services and products, to address issues concerning fees, and to establish oversight of state agencies with respect to public access to information by the Telecommunications Information Council. Among other things, the amendments to the law at that time required the Telecommunications Information Council to adopt regulations for the operation and implementation of the Public Records Act by public agencies in the executive branch (except the Alaska Railroad Corporation). AS 40.25.123. New regulations governing public access to information maintained by state agencies were finally adopted by the TIC, effective November 6, 1994, as 6 AAC 96.100-.900. These new regulations replaced the state regulations governing access to information that had been adopted in 1982 by the Office of the Governor. The former regulations, found in 6 AAC 95.010-.900, were repealed in 1994 when the new regulations were adopted. As of January 2006, and acting under AS 44.62.125 (b)(6), the regulations attorney relocated former 6 AAC 96 to 2 AAC 96, and made conforming technical changes, to reflect Executive Order 113 (2005), which eliminated the Telecommunications Information Council and transferred its functions to the governor and to the Department of Administration. The history notes for provisions relocated to 2 AAC 96 carry forward the history from former 6 AAC 96.

    These regulations in 2 AAC 96 apply to requests made to "a public agency" for the disclosure of public records, as well as to the format used and the fees charged by a public agency in providing or disclosing public records, and the electronic services and products, including software copyrights, that a public agency may provide to access public records. 2 AAC 96.100. The term "public agency" is defined in Chapter 96 of the Administrative Code to have the same meaning as that term is given in the Public Records Act, except that it is limited to public agencies in the executive branch of the state (other than the Alaska Railroad Corporation, the University of Alaska, and the legislative and judicial branches, each of which are authorized by law to adopt their own procedure for the operation and implementation of public access provisions). It should be borne in mind, then, that the following discussion of procedures for obtaining records comprises almost entirely an explanation of Title 2, Chapter 96 of the Administrative Code, and therefore only applies to the specified executive branch agencies of the state government. In addition, the regulations themselves provide that notwithstanding Chapter 96, a public agency may adopt its own procedures for administrative appeals of a public agency's denial in whole or in part, of a public records request. This outline does not attempt to address any specific or separate procedures adopted by the excluded state agencies, municipalities, school boards or other public agencies covered by the Public Records Act, but not covered by these regulations, or any separate procedures for administrative appeals adopted by any particular agencies that differ from those set forth in Chapter 96.

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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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  • California

    The CPRA requires prompt agency response to records requests and allows immediate relief via the courts.

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  • Connecticut

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

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  • Georgia

    In cooperation with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation and the Georgia Press Association, the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia has prepared a useful citizen’s guide to the state’s sunshine laws, available online at http://www.gfaf.org/the-red-book/.

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  • Hawaii

    The UIPA directs each agency to "[i]ssue instructions and guidelines necessary to effectuate" the Act. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-18(a)(1) (implementing UIPA). In addition, the law directs each agency to compile a public report describing the records it routinely uses or maintains, which must be filed with OIP and must also contain, among other things, the name and location of each set of records, the policies and practice of the agency regarding storage, retrievability, access controls, retentions and disposals, and the title, business address, and business telephone number of the agency officer or officers responsible for the records. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-18(b). Therefore, many of the questions below cannot be answered without reference to the agencies' rules, many of which await updating or promulgation pursuant to the Agency Procedures and Fees for Processing Government Record Requests recently adopted by the OIP.

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  • Massachusetts

    A custodian of records may not impose any policy or procedure for obtaining public records “that is adverse to the provisions of the Public Records Law and its Regulations.” SPR Bulletin No. 3, “Public record requests and C.O.R.I.” (Nov. 21, 2003).

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  • New Jersey

    OPRA in N.J.S.A. 47:1A-5 contains detailed procedural guidelines for obtaining records.

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  • Tennessee

    Pursuant to T.C.A. 10-7-503(g), every governmental entity in Tennessee subject to the Act was required to establish a written public records policy no later than July 1, 2017. The Office of Open Records Counsel developed a model policy that many governmental entities have followed. Any requestor should first review the entity’s policy before making a request. These policies addressed many of the procedures for requesting records and often contain a suggested form for requesting records. An entity may not adopt a policy that is more restrictive than the Act.

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  • West Virginia

    This section addresses the most frequently asked question under the Freedom of Information Act: "How do I file an FOIA request?"

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