Delaware improves process for open records requests

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October 26, 2011

Gov. Jack Markell

DOVER, Delaware: With two changes to open records law, Delaware has moved toward greater transparency.

An executive order from the governor requires greater responsiveness, and new legislation standardizes the information request form.

Delaware has had a Freedom of Information Act since the 1970s, but state employees often have discouraged citizens' requests with high fees and complex processes.[1]

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell's (D) order places a 10 cent per page limit on FOIA fees, and the first 20 pages will be free.[2] Agencies must implement an online FOIA form by Dec. 1,[3] and cannot charge for legal reviews of whether certain documents are exempt from FOIA.[1]

The order also implements a "No Wrong Door" policy, which requires state employees to forward requests to the relevant agency.[3]

The Delaware Legislature did its part by passing Senate Bill 87. Sponsored by Sen. Karen Peterson (D), the bill establishes one FOIA form to be used by all units of government in Delaware.[3]

Peterson said, "People... have a right to everything we do and publish."[3]

The legislation covers not only state government but also school districts, cities, and other local governments.[3] The governor's order applies only to state executive agencies.[2]

See also

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