Deliberative process exemption
A deliberative process exemption to open records requests shields from public scrutiny the papers and materials that elected officials use in the course of reaching a decision. There are two clear arguments for this exemption. The first argument for the exemption centers on the notion that public officials should be able to conceal much of the thought process behind making a decision in order to protect the free flow of opinions and information. The courts and legislatures have traditionally argued that without the exemption in place, the ability of public officials to receive opinions from their constituents would be hampered. In addition, the exemption is in place to protect the internal thought processes and notes of public officials from public scrutiny, as pre-decisional material is typically considered work product and is thus exempt. Various states approach this exemption differently, with some enforcing a broad definition while others reject it outright.
Among the states
This is a small graph which quickly breaks down the deliberative process exemption amongst all 50 states.
Please select a state from the map or list below to learn about how it handles the Deliberative process exemption.