State Public Records Laws

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The State FOIA/Public Records Project

This page is dedicated to tracking state public records law. The table below gives an overview of state public records laws. For more details about individual states, see the individual pages below. There you will find information about the law, pending legislation, and new articles related to public records laws. This page was last updated August 2011. 

More detailed information on each state's open records laws can be found at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press' Open Government Guide

State Public Records Laws

State Are the following covered: Governor State Legislature Courts Advisory Committees Time? How much time? Do they charge a search fee? Records Commissioner or Ombudsman Covers Electronic Records?
AL Yes Yes Yes Yes No N/A N/A Yes Yes
AK Yes No No N/A Yes No Yes
AZ Yes Yes Yes Yes No N/A Yes No
AR Yes Yes No Yes Yes 3 No No Yes
CA Yes No Yes Yes Yes 10 No No Yes
CO Yes Yes No Yes Yes 3 Yes No
CT Yes Yes No No Yes 4 Yes Yes
District of Columbia Yes Yes No No Yes 15 No No
DE Yes No No Yes No N/A No No
FL Yes Yes No Yes No NA No No
GA Yes No No Yes Yes 3 Yes Yes Yes
HI Yes Yes No No Yes 10 Yes Yes
ID Yes Yes Yes No Yes 3 Yes No
IL Yes Yes No Yes Yes 5 No Yes
IN Yes No Yes Yes Yes 7 No No Yes
IA Yes No No No Yes 10 to 20 No Yes Yes
KS Yes Yes Yes No Yes 3 Yes Yes
KY Yes Yes No Yes Yes 3 Yes Yes Yes
LA No No No Yes Yes 3 No No Yes
ME Yes Yes No No Yes 5 Yes No
MD Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 30 Yes No
MA Yes No No No Yes 10 Yes Yes
MI No No No No Yes 5 Yes Yes
MN Yes No No No No N/A Yes No
MS No No Yes Yes Yes 14 Yes No
MO Yes Yes No Yes Yes 3 Yes No Yes
MT Yes Yes Yes Yes No NA Yes No Yes
NE Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 4 No No
NV Yes Yes No No Yes 5 No Yes
NH Yes Yes No Yes Yes 5 No Yes
NJ Yes Yes No Yes Yes 7 No Yes
NM Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 3 No Yes
NY Yes No No Yes Yes 5 No Yes
NC Yes Yes Yes Yes No N/A No No
ND Yes Yes No Yes No N/A Yes Yes Yes
OH No No Yes No No N/A No Yes
OK Yes No Yes Yes No N/A Yes Yes Yes
OR Yes No Yes Yes No N/A Yes No
PA Yes Yes Yes No Yes 5 No Yes
RI Yes Yes No Yes Yes 10 Yes No
SC Yes Yes No Yes Yes 15 Yes Yes
SD Yes Yes Yes Yes No NA Yes No
TN No No No Yes Yes 7 Yes Yes
TX Yes Yes No No Yes 10 Yes No
UT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 10 Yes Yes
VT Yes Yes No No Yes 3 Yes No
VA Yes Yes No Yes Yes 5 Yes No
WA Yes No Yes Yes Yes 5 No No
WV Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5 No No
WI Yes Yes Yes Yes No NA Yes No Yes
WY Yes Yes Yes Yes No NA Yes No Yes
Federal Government Yes No No No Yes 20 Yes Yes


Criteria

  • Governor: Does the public have a right to access records maintained by the Office of the Governor, or the governor himself beyond state agencies?
  • Legislature: Does the state legislature subject itself to the FOIA/public record law?
  • Court: Can the public use the public records law to access court documents? (Note: Many states recognize a doctrine of separation of powers, which does not allow the legislature to set rules for how the court operates. States that do not subject courts to FOIA/public records requests may still make some court information public).
  • Advisory Committees: Are quasi-governmental advisory councils or committees subject to FOIA/public records requests? Is the definition of agency, government body, or government official employed by the act broad enough to include these boards?
  • Time?: Is there a specific time limit on how long an agency or government body has to respond to a request?
  • How much time?: What is the amount of time? (Note: N/A means that the state does not have a time limit)
  • Search Fee: While all states allow agencies or government bodies to charge fees to cover the cost of duplication, some states are allow to charge search fees that can become prohibitive to public access.
  • Commissioner or Ombudsman: Does the state have an independent mechanism for citizens to petition or resolve disputes with agencies?

Individual State Laws

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