State Public Record Laws
All 50 states also have public records laws which allow members of
the public (including non-residents) to obtain documents and other public
records from state and local government bodies. State public records
laws are not identical to FOIA nor are state court interpretations of
similar language in state statutes necessarily the same as federal
court interpretation of FOIA (though many were modeled upon the federal
FOIA). Several state courts have held that federal judicial interpretations
of FOIA are at least helpful in interpreting similar language in state
public record laws.
Many of these laws are similar to FOIA, but the
similarities notwithstanding, you must be alert to recognize where there
are important differences. These distinctions may arise in regard to
the breadth of coverage of a disclosure exemption or in the implementation
of response deadlines. ALWAYS review the specific law and regulation
you are working with before you proceed. Be aware that merely because
your failure to comply with a particular requirement is not raised immediately
at the administrative level does not ensure that the problem will not
come back to haunt you should you seek judicial review.
|"The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created."
Public Records Act,
Click on your state in the map or list below for that state's public
The citations for the state public records acts follows: