Open Public Records Act

Page 2 of 32

A Citizen’s Guide to the Open Public Records Act Second Edition – July 2011 Table of Contents

Use of This Guide …..…………………………………………………………………... 4 SECTION 1 – OPRA DEFINED ……………………………………………………….. 5 What is the Open Public Records Act (OPRA)? ………………………………... 5 Are there other ways to request access to government records besides OPRA? 5 What public policies are expressed in OPRA? ………………………………….. 6 Who may file an OPRA request? ……………………………………………….. 6 What is a “government record?” ………………………………………………... 7 Who is the “custodian of a government record?” ………………………………. 13 What is a “public agency” under OPRA? ………………………………………. 14 SECTION 2 – OPRA AT WORK ………………………………………………………. 16 How do I submit an OPRA request? ……………………………………………. 16 Can I request records in a specific medium? ..………………………………….. 17 Can I specify how I want the custodian to send me the records? ..……………… 17 Can a public agency create specific OPRA hours? ……………………………... 17 What happens if an employee other than the custodian receives my OPRA request? ……………………………………………………………………….…. 18 18 When does the response time clock begin? ...…………………………………… 18 Can I access any records immediately? …………………………………………. 19 Can the custodian take more than seven (7) business days to respond to my OPRA request? ..………………………………………………………………… 19 What should a custodian’s response to my request contain? …………………… 19 How much can the custodian charge me for my OPRA request? …………….… 19 What is a special service charge? ……………………………………………….. 22 Can the custodian “black out” portions of the records I requested? …………… 23 What is a broad and/or unclear request? …………..…....................................... 24 What is a substantial disruption to agency operations? …………………….…… 25 When should I expect a response to my OPRA request? ……………………….

Made with