Definition of Public Record

Section 24A.2 defines records as “all documents, including, but not limited to, any book, paper, photograph, microfilm, data files created by or used with computer software, computer tape, disk, and record, sound recording, film recording, video record or other material regardless of physical form or characteristic, created by, received by, under the authority of, or coming into the custody, control or possession of public officials, public bodies, or their representatives in connection with the transaction of public business, the expenditure of public funds or the administering of public property.” This specifically includes all records of the transfer of public funds. 1

Exemptions to Public Records

Exempt: 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. 2

Who Can Make The Request?


Response Timeframe

Timeframe not specified. 3

Information on Fees

Request fees are generally limited to the direct cost of materials required in fulfilling the request and not to exceed 25 cents per page for 8 1/2 by 14 inches or less. However, requests deemed purely commercial (which does not include media requesters) or which would be unduly burdensome may recover fees for search time. 4

Enforcement Mechanisms

There is no formal appeal process, so litigation is the primary enforcement mechanism. Officials found guilty of violating the act may be fined up to $500. 5

Attorney Fees

Yes, you can win attorney’s fees. 6

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 info@goldwaterinstitute.org to determine if the Institute can help you access information necessary to hold your government accountable.

Goldwater Institute