Arkansas FOIA procedures
Each state varies slightly in the procedures used to gain access to public documents. This article serves to describe specifically the steps used in Arkansas. To read the history and details of Arkansas’s sunshine laws please see Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.
How to request public records in Arkansas
The act indicates that records requests should be directed at the "records custodian" but does not identify any clear method for appointing or identifying the records custodian. It does seem to indicate that in the absence of an appointed record custodian, requests should be directed towards the head of the department in control of the records.
Purpose and use
The law does not require a statement of purpose and does not restrict the use of records after they have been delivered.
Who may request public records?
The act itself states that any citizen of the state of Arkansas (with the exception of convicted felons and/or representatives on a felon's behalf other than their lawyer) may request records. However, this interpretation has been overruled by recent federal court decisions which have eliminated the states' right to restrict access to records to only its own citizens. To read more on this, please see Lee v. Minner.
- See also: How much do public records cost?
Fees for providing public records may not exceed the actual cost of reproduction and transmission (mail, fax, etc), and may not include "agency personnel time associated with searching for, retrieving, reviewing, or copying the records."
If the estimated fee would exceed $25, the custodian of the records may require pre-payment of the full amount. An itemized breakdown of all fees must be provided.
Fees are not required to be assessed; if the custodian deems the records to be in the public interest, they may be provided at no cost.
- See also: Request response times by state
The department has 24 hours to determine whether to deny or grant the records request and then must make the records available within 3 days.
There are multiple exemptions to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act. See Exemptions to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act for more detail.
- Arkansas Legislative Code (dead link) search for 25-19-105
- Open Government Guide to Arkansas
- Past articles on WikiFOIA
State of Arkansas
Little Rock (capital)
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