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California
12,807
Massachusetts
7,938
New York
7,310
Florida
4,360
Texas
4,191
Illinois
3,470
Washington
2,652
Georgia
2,185
Virginia
2,093
Michigan
1,817
Pennsylvania
1,792
Minnesota
1,728
Maryland
1,724
North Carolina
1,648
Ohio
1,615
Colorado
1,588
Arizona
1,549
New Jersey
1,472
Tennessee
1,442
Alabama
1,370
Connecticut
1,297
Missouri
1,235
Nevada
1,133
Louisiana
1,072
Rhode Island
919
Wisconsin
918
Indiana
897
Oregon
879
Arkansas
756
South Carolina
749
Kentucky
711
Oklahoma
706
New Hampshire
649
Kansas
645
New Mexico
641
Mississippi
636
Utah
626
Idaho
536
Delaware
479
North Dakota
460
Iowa
452
Vermont
450
Nebraska
441
West Virginia
439
Montana
399
Maine
388
Hawaii
381
Alaska
356
Wyoming
337
South Dakota
313

Open Records Laws by State 2024

Open Records Laws by State 2024

Alabama

Open Meetings Law:
Alabama Open Meetings Law guarantees that Alabama's citizens have open access to agencies, boards, commissions, and other governmental bodies which conduct the people's business.

Public Records Law:
Alabama Public Records Law grants citizens the right to inspect and copy public writings.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any citizen who is a state resident.

Open Records Exemptions:
Banking, juvenile court, hospital and probation reports; identity of Medicaid recipients; reports of suspected disease cases; tax and financial statements.

Alaska

Open Meetings Law:
The Alaska Open Meetings Act is a law that addresses public meetings and protects the public’s right to know and opportunity to be heard.

Public Records Law:
Alaska Public Records Act states that most records in the possession of municipal (and state) government are subject to disclosure and this applies to municipalities. Citizens should presume that all records are public and subject to inspection by any member of the public.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Juvenile, adoption, medical and public health; library lending; names of victims of certain types of sexual assault; and some law enforcement records.

Arizona

Open Meetings Law:
Arizona Open Meetings Act states that it is the public policy of Arizona that meetings of public bodies be conducted openly and that notices and agendas be provided for these meetings which contain such information as is reasonably necessary to inform the public of the matters to be discussed or decided.

Public Records Law:
Arizona Public Records Law mandates that all public records be open to inspection by any person at all times during office hours.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Student records, research records, donor information, or if the release of a record would constitute an invasion of personal privacy and that invasion outweighs the public’s right to know, adoption records; disciplinary records of some professional groups; some medical records; some corrections department records; bank records; and trade secrets.

Arkansas

Open Meetings Law:
Arkansas Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies. Arkansas defines public records as "writings, recorded sounds, films, tapes, electronic or computer-based information, or data compilations in any medium required by law to be kept."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any citizen of the state of Arkansas may request records, except incarcerated felons or anyone representing an incarcerated felon other than their lawyer.

Open Records Exemptions:
Income tax records; medical, scholastic and adoption records; historical and archeological files; on-going law enforcement investigations; working papers, competitive advantage, and personnel records; and identities of undercover law enforcement officers.

California

Open Meetings Law:
California Open Meetings Act is a combination of the Ralph M. Brown Act, which legislates local government and political subdivisions, the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, which legislates the executive branch of the state, and the Grunsky-Burton Open Meeting Act, which legislates methods by which public meets are conducted on the state level.

Public Records Law:
California Public Records Act is a series of laws meant to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in California. In December of 2011, a Superior Court judge ruled that the California Assembly must also disclose budget records of individual lawmakers.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Law enforcement investigations: litigation; and proprietary business data and personal privacy.

Colorado

Open Meetings Law:
Colorado Sunshine Law for open meetings informs of the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that all meetings of two or more members of any state public body where any public business is discussed must be open to the public.

Public Records Law:
Public records include all writings that are made, maintained, kept or held by entities that are subject to the Colorado Public (Open) Records Act for use in the exercise of functions required or authorized by law or administrative rule or involving the receipt or expenditure of public funds.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
At discretion of custodian: Records of investigations; test questions; details of research projects being conducted by the state; real estate appraisals; and motor vehicle license photographs. Custodian must Exempt: Medical data; personnel files; letters of reference; trade secrets; library records; addresses of public school children; and sexual harassment complaints under investigation.

Connecticut

Open Meetings Law:
Connecticut Freedom of Information Act guarantees the public access to public records of governmental bodies in Connecticut. Public records include any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract.

Public Records Law:
The Connecticut Open Meetings Law, which is included in the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, defines meetings as all gatherings of or communications to a quorum of members of a multi-member public agency with the intention of discussing or deciding on public policy.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Exemptions to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act include, but are not limited to:

  • Preliminary drafts or notes whose disclosure does not outweigh the public benefit of withholding them.
  • Personnel or medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.
  • Records of law enforcement agencies which are still currently in pre-trial or trial phase or which would place victims or culprits in danger.
  • Strategy or negotiation concerning pending litigation.
  • Trade Secrets.
  • Financial information, freely given and not required by statute.
  • Licensing tests and statements of personal worth.
  • Collective bargaining records and reports.
  • Personal information including names and addresses of students enrolled in any school.
  • Adoption records.
  • Petitions.
  • Records of complaints.
  • Any information that would jeopardize security at correctional facilities, infrastructure, telecommunications or the security of any individuals.
  • Home addresses of anyone within the Address Confidentiality Program.

Delaware

Open Meetings Law:
Delaware Freedom of Information Act, is a series of laws guaranteeing that the public has access to the public records of governmental bodies. Public records are defined as information of any kind, owned, made, used, retained, received, produced, composed, drafted or otherwise compiled or collected by any public body, relating in any way to public business, or in any way of public interest or in any way related to public purposes.

Public Records Law:
The Delaware Open Meetings law, included in the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, states that all gatherings of quorum of members of a public body, whether formal, informal or through video conferencing, with the intention of discussing public business are considered meetings.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any citizen of Delaware may request public documents.

Open Records Exemptions:

  • Any personnel, medical or pupil file, the disclosure of which would constitute an invasion of personal privacy.
  • Trade secrets
  • Current police investigations, adoption information, and child custody information
  • Any criminal records deemed personal and private
  • Criminal intelligence information that would pose a security risk
  • "Any records specifically exempted from public disclosure by statute or common law", and other

Florida

Open Meetings Law:
Florida Open Meetings Law states that all meetings of any governmental body where official acts will be taken are public meetings. The act then goes on to define a government body as all state agencies and the agencies of the subdivisions of the state.

Public Records Law:
The Florida Sunshine Law, established in 1995, is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the public records of government bodies in Florida. Public records include all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law to ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
More than 600 exemptions.

Georgia

Open Meetings Law:
Georgia Open Meetings Act defines meetings as any gathering of a quorum of members of a public body where business will be discussed or action will be taken. Exceptions to this would be on-site inspections of facilities and meetings with other agencies outside of the original agencies jurisdiction, where no action is taken.

Public Records Law:
Georgia Open Records Act is a series of laws guaranteeing the public access to public records of government bodies. Public records are those documents generated by individuals or groups in public office in the course of public service.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any citizen of the state.

Open Records Exemptions:
Investigations; certain real estate documents; attorney-client privilege documents; and names of handgun carriers. Electronic records open.

Hawaii

Open Meetings Law:
The Hawaii Sunshine Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law defines meetings as any gathering of a quorum of a public body. Every meeting of all boards are open to the public with a few exceptions.

Public Records Law:
The Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act is the law that governs access to public records. Records include all materials maintained in government offices and agencies including all records whether they be written, auditory, visual, electronic, or other physical form.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Medical, psychiatric, or psychological information; criminal investigations; social services or welfare benefits information; personnel files; fitness to be granted a license; and personal recommendations and evaluations.

Idaho

Open Meetings Law:
The Idaho Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law defines a meeting as any convening of a government body to deliberate and decide on public matters.

Public Records Law:
The Idaho Public Records Act governs access to public documents in Idaho. All records are presumed to be open records.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Exemptions include, but are not limited to: court records that would result in the release of confidentiality, law enforcement investigations, juvenile records, voting records of the sexual offender classification board, and other. There are approximately 40 exemptions in all.

Illinois

Open Meetings Law:
The Illinois Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. All meetings, whether in person or by video or audio conference, telephone call, electronic means of any sort, where a majority of a quorum of a public body meets to discuss or act on business in any way is open to the public.

Public Records Law:
The Illinois Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Illinois. The updates effective in 2012 greatly strengthened the act. The law requires each public agency to nominate an officer to be the official keeper of public records, as well as complete an online training course, established by the attorney general.

The act defines public records as all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, recorded information and all other documentary materials under the control of any public body.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Numerous exemptions including personnel information, disciplinary actions and vulnerability assessments.

Indiana

Open Meetings Law:
The Indiana Open Door Law legislates the methods which public meetings are conducted. A meeting is defined as a gathering of a majority of the governing body of a public agency for the purpose of taking official action upon public business. Exemptions include social or chance gatherings, on-site inspection, meetings organized by other parties which are devoted to better governments, caucuses, discussions of commercial prospects that do not include decisions, orientation or training for new public officials, or administration of the oath of office.

Public Records Law:
The Indiana Access to Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Public records are defined as essentially any information created, maintained or filed by government agencies.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Trade secrets, university research, and certain educational and medical records. Discretionary exemptions include: Personnel files, diaries, journals, and personal notes.

Iowa

Open Meetings Law:
The Iowa Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law defines a meeting as any gathering, formal or informal, where a majority of the members of a public body have the intention of deliberating or deciding upon public issues.

Public Records Law:
The Iowa Open Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. The law includes all records of government agencies except where the documents have been deemed confidential.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:

  • Personal information on accepted students (both current and past students)
  • Medical records
  • Trade secrets
  • Records of attorneys who represent the state
  • Reports that result in unfair competition
  • Appraisal information for public land purchases
  • Criminal files
  • Military confidential records
  • Personal information in records of employees and elected officials of public agencies
  • Library records
  • Information on the donors of charitable contributions
  • Corrections department information that would jeopardize security
  • Communications made to the government but not required by statute
  • Examinations
  • Archaeological and historical ecologically sensitive material locations and information
  • Marketing and advertising budgets and strategies for non-profits
  • Information maintained by mediators employed to solve the disputes with government agencies

Kansas

Open Meetings Law:
The Kansas Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are created. The law defines a government meeting as any gathering of the majority of a government body with the intention of discussing public business with the exemption of impeachment hearings and if exempted by other state or federal statutes.

Public Records Law:
The Kansas Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Kansas. The act defines public records as any records that are created or kept in public agencies and that pertain to the workings of the government.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
42 exemptions, check code citation.

Kentucky

Open Meetings Law:
The Kentucky Open Meetings Act legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. Meetings are defined as all gatherings of a public agency of every kind, including video teleconferences and casual gatherings.

Public Records Law:
The Kentucky Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. A public record is defined as including, "all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, discs, diskettes, recordings, software, or other documentation regardless of physical form or characteristics, which are prepared, owned, used, in the possession of or retained by a public agency."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
42 exemptions, check code citation; restriction of state employees to inspect personnel files prohibited.

Louisiana

Open Meetings Law:
Article 12, Section 3 in the Louisiana Open Meetings Law states "No person shall be denied the right to observe the deliberations of public bodies and examine public documents, except in cases established by law."

Public Records Law:
The Louisiana Public Records Act, also known as Louisiana’s Sunshine Law defines public records as, "All books, records, writings, accounts, letters and letter books, maps, drawings, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, memorandum, and papers, and all copies, duplicates, photographs, including microfilm, or other reproductions thereof, or any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, including information contained in electronic data processing equipment, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed, or retained for use in the conduct, transaction, or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty, or function which was conducted, transacted, or performed by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state, or by or under the authority of any ordinance, regulation, mandate, or order of any public body or concerning the receipt or payment of any money received or paid by or under the authority of the constitution or the laws of this state, are 'public records', except as otherwise provided in this Chapter or the Constitution of Louisiana."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Pending criminal litigation; juvenile status offenders; sexual offense victims; security procedures; trade secrets; and some public employee information.

Maine

Open Meetings Law:
The Maine Freedom of Access Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that he public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Maine.

The act defines public records as, "any written, printed or graphic matter or any mechanical or electronic data compilation from which information can be obtained, directly or after translation into a form susceptible of visual or aural comprehension, that is in the possession or custody of an agency or public official of this State or any of its political subdivisions, or is in the possession or custody of an association, the membership of which is composed exclusively of one or more of any of these entities, and has been received or prepared for use in connection with the transaction of public or governmental business or contains information relating to the transaction of public or governmental business."

Public Records Law:
The Maine Open Meeting law, included in the Maine Freedom of Access Act, legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The act applies to all meetings where transactions that affect the citizens of the state have occurred.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Certain law enforcement investigation documents; records of legislature; and university administrative committees.

Maryland

Open Meetings Law:
The Maryland Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. A meeting is a gathering of a quorum of the public body for the transaction of public business.

Public Records Law:
The Maryland Public Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Maryland. Public records are defined by the Code of Maryland as documents in any form, made or received by a public body which pertain to government business.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Information that invades individual privacy; trade secrets; public policy development memos; and investigative materials.

Massachusetts

Open Meetings Law:
The Massachusetts Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. A meeting is any gathering of a quorum of member of a public body for the purposes of deliberating and deciding on public matters with the exception of on site inspections of facilities or chance or social meetings at which no final decision are made.

Public Records Law:
The Massachusetts Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Public records are defined as all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee of any agency.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Information that would invade individual privacy; trade secrets; public policy development memos; and investigative materials.

Michigan

Open Meetings Law:
The Michigan Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Meetings are any gathering of a quorum of a public body with the intention of deliberation or deciding on public matters.

Public Records Law:
The Michigan Freedom of Information Act, is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Michigan.

Records are defined as "writing which encompasses handwriting, typing, printing, photographing, photocopying, and every other means of recording, and includes letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combinations thereof, or other means of recording or retaining meaningful content prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body in the performance of an official function, from the time it is created."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Information deemed private; trade secrets; advisory communications with government agencies; attorney-client communications; medical counseling and psychological facts or appraisals; records of campaign committees; and some law enforcement records.

Minnesota

Open Meetings Law:
The Minnesota Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that any gathering of a public body for the transaction of business is considered a meeting and is to be open.

Public Records Law:
The Minnesota Data Practices Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Public records are defined as all data collected, created, received, maintained or disseminated by any government entity regardless of its physical form, storage media or conditions of use.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Juvenile court records; and some personnel information.

Mississippi

Open Meetings Law:
The Mississippi Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law defines meetings as any official assembly of a public body in order to deliberate or decide on public policy. The definitions includes meetings using electronic telecommunication equipment but does not apply to chance meetings or social gatherings.

Public Records Law:
The Mississippi Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels.

Records are defined as "all books, records, papers, accounts, letters, maps, photographs, films, cards, tapes, recordings or reproductions thereof, and any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed or retained for use in the conduct, transaction or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty or function of any public body, or required to be maintained by any public body."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Personnel matters; employment applications; individual tax records; academic examination questions; appraisal information concerning the sale or purchase of property for public purposes; and attorney work product concerning litigation.

Missouri

Open Meetings Law:
The Missouri Sunshine Law for Open Meetings legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. All gatherings of members of a public body where public business is discussed or decided upon are considered meetings and are required to be open to the public.

Public Records Law:
The Missouri Sunshine Law states that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public governmental bodies are to be open to the public.

Records are defined by Missouri law as "any record, whether written or electronically stored, retained by or of any public governmental body including any report, survey, memorandum, or other document or study prepared for the public governmental body by a consultant or other professional service paid for in whole or in part by public funds, including records created or maintained by private contractors under an agreement with a public governmental body or on behalf of a public governmental body."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Legal actions; leasing, purchase or sale of real estate; personnel matters; the state militia; health examinations; testing materials; negotiations with employees; and sealed bids.

Montana

Open Meetings Law:
The Montana Open Meetings Law legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. The law defines meeting as any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body, including the use of electronic equipment, so as to deliberate and decide on public policy.

Public Records Law:
The Montana Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels.

The original definition of records includes all writings of government bodies including electronic mail. However, it has been expanded to include all items in "electronic format or other non-print media, including but not limited to videotapes, photographs, microfilm, film, or computer disk."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any resident of the state.

Open Records Exemptions:
Records may be closed if the right to individual privacy clearly exceeds the public’s right to know. However, the Montana Supreme Court has upheld challenges to statutes or executive branch decisions that closed records, ruling that the constitutional public right to know outweighed the individual privacy interest.

Nebraska

Open Meetings Law:
The Nebraska Open Meetings Act legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that all regular or special gathers, whether informal or formal, where a public body convenes for the purposes of discussing and deciding on public policy are considered meetings and are open to the public. The definition includes meetings which use telecommunication equipment.

Public Records Law:
The Nebraska Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Public records include all documents, no matter the form, belonging to any government agency.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Personal information on student and personnel records; medical records; trade secrets; academic and scientific research; attorney work product; law enforcement or investigative records; some archeological records; and real estate appraisals.

Nevada

Open Meetings Law:
The Nevada Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. A meeting is any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body to deliberate or decide on public matters.

Public Records Law:
The Nevada Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Public records includes all books and records of all government entities.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Over 300 exemptions. Custodians must balance privacy issues with public interest.

New Hampshire

Open Meetings Law:
The New Hampshire Right to Know Law is a series of statutes designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies. Public records are any information created, accepted, or obtained by, or on behalf of, any public body.

Public Records Law:
The New Hampshire Open Meetings law, which is included in the New Hampshire Right to Know Law, legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Meetings are defined as all gatherings of a quorum of member of a public body for the purpose of deliberating and deciding public policy.

Who May Request Public Records?
The New Hampshire Right to Know Law indicates that all “citizens” have a right to access New Hampshire’s records. However the law does not specify whether it is citizens of New Hampshire or the United States. The only requirement for a statement of purpose is the release of statistical data sets that may contain personal information.

Open Records Exemptions:
Investigative files; parole and pardon board records; student records; and certain commercial/financial information.

New Jersey

Open Meetings Law:
Citizens of New Jersey may request public documents of the state. Government "records shall be readily accessible for inspection, copying, or examination by the citizens of this State.

Who May Request Public Records?
Residents of New Jersey.

Open Records Exemptions:
Convicted criminals seeking information on victims and anonymous requestors.

New Mexico

Open Meetings Law:
The New Mexico Open Meetings Act legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. A meetings is any gathering of a quorum of members of the public body in order to discuss and decide on personnel policy, rules, regulations, ordinances and all other public business.

Public Records Law:
The New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies.

The New Mexico Statute 14-2-6 states that records include "all documents, papers, letters, books, maps, tapes, photographs, recordings and other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are used, created, received, maintained or held by or on behalf of any public body and relate to public business, whether or not the records are required by law to be created or maintained."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Physical or mental examinations and medical treatment; letters of reference concerning employment, licensing or permits; matters of opinion in personnel files or students' cumulative files; law enforcement records that reveal confidential sources, methods, information or individuals accused but not charged; identity of applicant or nominee for president of institution of learning but names of at least five finalists must be released at least 21 days before selection is made.

New York

Open Meetings Law:
The New York Open Meetings Law legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. Meetings are the official convening of a public body to discuss and decide on public business.

Public Records Law:
The New York Freedom of Information Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in New York. A record is defined as any information kept, held, filed, produced, or reproduced by, with or for an agency or the state legislature, in any physical form whatsoever.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Disclosures resulting in unwarranted invasion of privacy or business/competition enterprises; names of sex crime victims; and some law enforcement records and inter/intra-agency materials.

North Carolina

Open Meetings Law:
The North Carolina Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. An official meeting is any gathering of a public body to discuss or decide upon public business. This includes communication via any electronic means. Social meetings and informal assemblies are exempt.

Public Records Law:
The North Carolina Public Records Law is designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in North Carolina.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Confidential legal communications; criminal investigations; and intelligence information.

North Dakota

Open Meetings Law:
The North Dakota Open Meetings Statute legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. A meeting is any gathering of quorum of the members of a public body, whether it be in person or through electronic means, in order to discuss and decide on public business.

Public Records Law:
The North Dakota Open Records Statute is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies.

North Dakota law defines records as, "recorded information of any kind, regardless of the physical form or characteristic by which the information is stored, recorded, or reproduced, which is in the possession or custody of a public entity or its agent and which has been received or prepared for use in connection with public business or contains information relating to public business."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Juvenile records; trade secrets; public employee medical and assistance records; workers compensation; unemployment; tax information; law enforcement investigation records; and most Department of Human Services records.

Ohio

Open Meetings Law:
The Ohio Open Meetings Law legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. A meeting is defined as any prearranged discussion of public business by a quorum of the public body.

Public Records Law:
The Ohio Open Records Law describes what records are available, what agencies are covered, what fees can be charged, who can ask for records, etc. Records include all records kept by any public office as well as records of both non-profit and for-profit private schools.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Personal bank records; medical records; adoption records; probation and parole records; and certain law enforcement investigative records.

Oklahoma

Open Meetings Law:
The Oklahoma Open Meetings Act states that a meeting is any conduct of business by the majority of a public body which has gathered for the purpose of conducting business. The act only permits the use of teleconferencing technology for the purpose of holding electronic meetings and explicitly prohibits the use of other technologies for gathering consensus decisions outside of public meetings.

Public Records Law:
The Oklahoma Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that public has access to all public records of governmental bodies.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
If protected by state evidentiary privilege; real estate appraisals; personnel records; registration files of sex offenders; public officials’ personnel notes; business-related bids; computer programs; medical market research; and certain educational records including student records.

Oregon

Open Meetings Law:
The Oregon Public Meetings Law legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. A meetings is defined as any convening of a quorum of the members of a governing body in order to discuss or decide on public business.

Public Records Law:
The Oregon Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Records less than 75 years old containing information on the health care treatment of a living individual; impending litigation; trade secrets; criminal investigation materials; testing materials; real estate appraisals; personnel disciplinary action; and computer programs.

Pennsylvania

Open Meetings Law:
The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted, and states that a meeting is any prearranged gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body to discuss public matters.

Public Records Law:
The Pennsylvania Right to Know Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies. All documents will be presumed to be opento the public unless the agency holding them can prove otherwise.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Most investigative records; birth and death records; and accident reports.

Rhode Island

Open Meetings Law:
The Rhode Island Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is any convening of a public body to discuss or decide upon public business.

Public Records Law:
The Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act guarantees access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Rhode Island.Public records are all documents, no matter their physical form that are "made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Presumption of disclosure with few exemptions.

South Carolina

Open Meetings Law:
The South Carolina Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is the convening of quorum of the members of a public body, for the purposes of discussing and deciding on public business.

Public Records Law:
The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in South Carolina. South Carolina’s definition of records includes all records, no matter their physical characteristics, that were "prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Pending investigation documents; confidential attorney communications; identification of informants; certain bank and business transactions; and income tax returns.

South Dakota

Open Meetings Law:
The South Dakota Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that all official meetings, including teleconferencing must be open to the public, unless members of a political subdivision are attending a meeting of the state. If violated, it is considered a class two misdemeanor.

Public Records Law:
The South Dakota Sunshine Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that public has access to public records of governmental bodies. Public records are defined as all records kept by public bodies in South Dakota, no matter the physical form.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Savings and loan association reports; school records; juvenile court records; adoption records; hospital licensing and inspection information; and medical research information.

Tennessee

Open Meetings Law:
The Tennessee Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body in order to deliberate or decide on public policy. If violated, any action taken during the meeting is considered void.

Public Records Law:
The Tennessee Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Records are defined as any documents, no matter the physical form which are "made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any citizen of Tennessee.

Open Records Exemptions:
Medical records of patients in state institutions; some investigative records; public school student records; and some economic development issues, such as land acquisition.

Texas

Open Meetings Law:
The Texas Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.The law states that a meeting is any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body with the intention of deliberating and deciding on public policy. Any chance gatherings, conferences, ceremonial events, or press conferences which the members of the public body attend but do not deliberate or discuss public policy are exempt from the law.

Public Records Law:
The Texas Public Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies. Until the law was formalized, the ability of a citizen to gain access to public records was at the discretion of the custodian of the records, except in those cases where records custodians were forbidden to allow access. The law covers nearly all documents that are in the possession of government agencies in the state that are covered by the law.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Over 30 exemptions including: Confidential information as defined by law; personnel information; litigation or settlement negotiations involving state, competition or bidding information; certain real estate information; certain legislative documents; certain investigation or prosecution documents; certain private communications of public office holders and other.

Utah

Open Meetings Law:
The Utah Open and Public Meetings Act legislates methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is a gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body, either in person or through electronic methods, with the intention of discussing or deciding on public policy. The law requires that all meetings be open to the public, unless exempted under executive sessions.

Public Records Law:
The Utah Government Records Access and Management Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Documents created by public bodies in Utah are open for inspection to any member of the public.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Private information about individuals and government employees, health records of individuals, and records that are protected because if released they may result in security problems or financial speculation, unfair competition and financial instability.

Vermont

Open Meetings Law:
The Vermont Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted The law states that a meeting is any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body for the purposes of deliberating or deciding on public business. On site inspections are exempt.

Public Records Law:
The Vermont Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Vermont. Public records includes all documents, no matter the physical form that are "produced or acquired in the course of public agency business."

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Twenty exemptions including: personnel files; criminal investigation records; tax documents; and location of historical/archaeological sites.

Virginia

Open Meetings Law:
The Virginia Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels in Virginia.

Public records includes all documents, no matter their physical form, that are "prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business."

Public Records Law:
The Virginia Open Meetings law, included in the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, legislates the method by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is any gathering, whether in person or through the use of electronic communication, of at least three members of a public body or a quorum if it is less than three members whether or not a vote is taken. The gathering of public employees, chance or social gatherings, and public forums or debates are all exempt from the law.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any citizen of Virginia may request public records.

Open Records Exemptions:
Some criminal investigations; some police reports; tax returns; medical records; personnel matters; real estate; attorney client privilege exemptions; and working papers.

Washington

Open Meetings Law:
The Washington Open Public Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is a gathering in which any action is taken. Granting or reviewing license applications, acting in a judicial capacity, and collective bargaining sessions are all exempt from the law.

Public Records Law:
The Washington Public Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Washington law defines records as "any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics." A recent Supreme Court ruling has said that accident reports are also public records.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Personal student or patient information; employee files; and some investigative records.

West Virginia

Open Meetings Law:
The West Virginia Open Governmental Proceedings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is any gathering of a quorum of the members of a public body in order to deliberate and decide on public policy. Judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, on-site inspections, single party caucuses, when discussing scheduling or rescheduling meetings are all instances exempt from the law.

Public Records Law:
The West Virginia Freedom of Information Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. West Virginia law defines records as "any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business, prepared, owned and retained by a public body".

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Trade secrets; information violating personal privacy; some exam data; some archaeological sites; and law enforcement records for internal use.

Wisconsin

Open Meetings Law:
The Wisconsin Open Meetings Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. Every meeting of a governmental body must be held in open session. All discussion, action, and deliberations can only occur in open sessions, with few exceptions. The law states that a meeting is any gathering of the members of a public body with the intention of conducting public business.

Public Records Law:
The Wisconsin Open Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. Wisconsin defines record as any document, regardless of physical form, that "has been created or is being kept by" an agency.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Certain investigative records, computer programs and trade secrets; public library circulation records are confidential.

Wyoming

Open Meetings Law:
The Wyoming Public Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The law states that a meeting is a gathering of a quorum the members of a public body, which was called by the public body with the intention of discussing public business.

Public Records Law:
The Wyoming Sunshine Lawis a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of government bodies at all levels. The definition of records includes all documents, no matter their physical form, that have been created or received by government agencies in the course of public business.

Who May Request Public Records?
Any member of the public.

Open Records Exemptions:
Some law enforcement investigation records; testing materials; details of state institutions’ research projects; labor negotiations; school board and university student disciplinary records; and medical records of publicly funded hospitals.

Open Records Laws by State 2024

Notes:
- Once filed, requests move through several smaller categories. These categories include not only Completed or Rejected (shown below), but also No Response, Awaiting Response, Awaiting Acknowledgement, Requiring Action, Overdue, and Appeals Awaiting Response.

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State
# of Requests Filed
# of Completed Requests
# of Rejected Requests
Success Rate
Allowed Response Time (days)
Average Response Time (days)
California12,8075,43161239.65%1088
Massachusetts7,9382,68638230.25%1090
New York7,3102,35293129.1%5130
Florida4,3601,71014735.18%unlimited80
Texas4,1911,61716335.58%1072
Illinois3,4701,77422045.88%550
Washington2,6521,25314244.49%5102
Georgia2,1857809531.58%366
Virginia2,09364126622.12%563
Michigan1,81762620932.31%567
Pennsylvania1,79256226129.63%573
Minnesota1,7285308527.43%unlimited92
Maryland1,7246379530.05%1077
North Carolina1,6487164938.77%unlimited118
Ohio1,6157267638.02%unlimited72
Colorado1,5885165228.27%354
Arizona1,5495905933.89%unlimited121
New Jersey1,47261117837.23%783
Tennessee1,44232223219.63%773
Alabama1,37023719516.35%unlimited146
Connecticut1,2975262436.24%486
Missouri1,2354237930.04%387
Nevada1,1334185132.39%588
Louisiana1,0722916724.81%3113
Rhode Island9195391858.43%1025
Wisconsin9183906837.47%unlimited103
Indiana8973335233.33%798
Oregon87922611422.41%unlimited97
Arkansas75618717619.97%393
South Carolina7492375027.24%1590
Kentucky7112266427.99%556
Oklahoma7062474530.59%unlimited175
New Hampshire6492543431.28%5114
Kansas6452287129.77%375
New Mexico6412674838.22%15122
Mississippi6361522521.07%7139
Utah6261966026.84%1076
Idaho5362461942.91%342
Delaware47912111521.92%1572
North Dakota4601804432.39%unlimited50
Iowa4521842334.51%1074
Vermont4501961335.11%347
Nebraska4411883737.19%437
West Virginia4391353926.65%587
Montana399128824.31%unlimited105
Maine3881242428.61%575
Hawaii3811091724.67%10111
Alaska3561032726.12%10124
Wyoming3371472040.65%776
South Dakota313867225.56%1080
showing: 50 rows

Open Records Laws by State 2024

Sources