Definition of Public Record

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.” 1

Exemptions to Public Records

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. 2

Who Can Make The Request?

Originally, any citizen of the state of Arkansas could request records during normal business hours with the exception of individuals on trial and convicted felons who request information concerning the Department of Corrections. 3

Response Timeframe

24 hours to determine eligibility and 3 days to assemble. 4

Information on Fees

The public body may establish fees reasonably calculated to reimburse it for its actual cost in making reproductions of records. A public body may not charge a search or retrieval fee or otherwise seek reimbursement based on a man-hour basis as part of costs associated with making reproduction of records. §29B-1-3 5

Enforcement Mechanisms

Falls to the Attorney General. The State Supreme Court case of Bryant v. Weiss (1998), in which the state’s top law enforcer was regarded as a citizen entitled to employ the FOIA, affirmed this opinion. Therefore, the State Attorney General may file a request that had been denied to another citizen and, if the request is once again denied, then he/she may bring civil action under the FOIA in place of the original requester. 6

Attorney Fees

You can claim attorney’s fees. A claim for reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation expenses reasonably incurred in an action against the State of Arkansas or a department, agency, or institution of the state shall be filed with the commission pursuant to 19-10-201 et seq. within sixty (60) days of the final disposition of the appeal under subsection (a) of this section. 7

Do You Want to Make a Public Records Request?

The public records process begins with a public records request. Our guide outlines best practices for drafting well-defined requests for public information.

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Questions? Contact the Goldwater Institute.

If you have any questions regarding this guide or your rights to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

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