Rights & Responsibilities

You have the right to:

  • A waiver or reduction of charges if the governmental body determines that access to the information primarily benefits the general public. 
  • Choose whether to inspect the requested information (most often at no charge), receive copies of the information, or both.
  • Lodge a written complaint about overcharges for public information with the General Services Commission.
  • Complaints of other possible violations may be filed with the county or district attorney of the county where the governmental body, other than a state agency, is located. If the complaint is against the county or district attorney, the complaint must be filed with the Office of the Attorney General. 
  • Prompt access to information that is not confidential or otherwise protected. 
  • Receive a copy of the communication from the governmental body asking the Office of the Attorney General for a ruling on whether the information can be withheld under one of the accepted exceptions, or a redacted copy if the communication discloses the requested information. 
  • Receive a written statement of estimated charges, when charges will exceed $40, in advance of work being started and opportunity to modify the request in response to the itemized statement. 
  • Receive certain kinds of information without exceptions, like the voting record of public officials, and other information.
  • Receive treatment equal to all other requestors, including accommodation in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

All governmental bodies responding to information requests have the responsibility to:

  • Be informed about open records laws and educate employees on the requirements of those laws.
  • Establish reasonable procedures for inspecting or copying public information and inform requestors of these procedures.
  • Inform requestors of the estimated charges greater than $40 and any changes in the estimates above 20% of the original estimate, and confirm that the requestor accepts the charges, or has amended the request, in writing before finalizing the request. 
  • Inform the requestor if the information cannot be provided promptly, and set a date and time to provide it within a reasonable time. 
  • Make a good faith attempt to inform third parties when their proprietary information is being requested from the governmental body. 
  • Request a ruling from the Office of the Attorney General regarding any information the governmental body wishes to withhold, and send a copy of the request for ruling or a redacted copy, to the requestor. 
  • Respond in writing to all written communications from the General Services Commission regarding charges for the information. Respond to the Office of the Attorney General regarding complaints about violations of the Act. 
  • Segregate public information from information that may be withheld and provide that public information promptly. 
  • Treat all requestors uniformly and shall give to the requestor all reasonable comfort and facility, including accommodation in accordance with ADA requirements.

Procedures to Obtain Information

  1. Submit a request by mail, fax, email or in person according to a governmental body's reasonable procedures. 
  2. Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the governmental body to accurately identify and locate the information requested. 
  3. Cooperate with the governmental body's reasonable efforts to clarify the type or amount of information requested. 
  4.  You may review it promptly, and if it cannot be produced within 10 working days, the public information officer will notify you in writing of the reasonable date and time when it will be available. 
  5. Keep all appointments to inspect records and to pick up copies. Failure to keep appointments may result in losing the opportunity to inspect the information at the time requested. 
    • You must respond to any written estimate of charges within 10 days of the date the governmental body sent it or the request is considered automatically withdrawn. 
    • If estimated costs exceed $100, or $50 if a governmental body has fewer than 16 full-time employees), the governmental body may require a bond, prepayment, or deposit. 
    • You may ask the governmental body to determine whether providing the information primarily benefits the general public, resulting in a waiver or reduction of charges. 
    •  Make a timely payment for all mutually agreed charges. A governmental body can demand payment of overdue balances exceeding $100, or obtain a security deposit, before processing additional requests from you.