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Private agency, public dollars

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Contents
  1. Reading our definition key
  2. Facts and Figures
WikiFOIA
Find your State
Sunshine Laws
Open Records laws
Open Meetings Laws
How to Make Records Requests
Sunshine Legislation
2010
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Litigation
Sorted by State, Year and Topic
Sunshine Nuances
Private Agencies, Public Dollars
Deliberative Process Exemption

Note: This page was a part of a project sponsored by Sunshine Review.

When government agencies outsource basic services to third-party contractors, one consequence is that the public may lose its access to information about the service that the public would have retained, had a government agency carried out the service directly.

A concern that previously public information will become privatized and inaccessible to the public when a government agency moves to contract out services to third-party vendors arises whether the third-party vendor is a non-profit organization or a for-profit organization. However, a number of key court cases in this area have arisen when non-profits have rebuffed requests for information under a state's right-to-know laws.

Reading our definition key

There are a number of characteristics or traits that recur in laws and rulings across the country which may render a non-profit subject to public records requests in that state. Sunshine Review staff developed the following box to indicate what requirements a particular state may have:

 
[[{{{act}}}|{{{state}}}]]
Common Definition Themes
These 5 characteristics tend to recur in most state definitions for private agencies which are subject to FOIA laws.
1.) Receive or dispense public funds: {{{funding}}}
2.) Created by a public agency: {{{creation}}}
3.) Present themselves as a public entity: {{{presentation}}}
4.) Perform a public function: {{{function}}}
5.) Controlled or managed by a public entity: {{{control}}}
Key:
No.pngf

=The legal history does not mention this characteristic or it has rejected this characteristic as a potential defining aspect.

Yes.pngp

=This characteristic alone is sufficient to bring an organization under the FOIA.

And.pngx

=This is a part of a compound definition requiring multiple characteristics. The numbers after the symbol indicate the additional requirements.

Suggest.pngw

=This is a characteristic that has been mentioned within the legal history and may aid in deciding whether or not the FOIA law applies to an organization but is not a part of a specific definition.

 

The key for this box indicates what definitional characteristics appear in the law for a particular state. The red "x," No.pngf , indicates that the law and legal history are silent on this characteristic or that it has rejected this characteristic as a potential defining aspect. The green check, Yes.pngp , indicates that this characteristic is a separate definition entirely and that this characteristic, by itself, renders the corporation or non-profit subject to the states FOIA laws. The yellow plus sign, And.pngx , indicates that the characteristic is a part of a compound definition where the corporation is required to meet multiple criteria to be considered a public body. Finally the blue plus sign, Suggest.pngw

indicates that the state has used this characteristic as an important criteria to aid in deciding if a corporation is a public body but the characteristic is not a part of a specific definition.

Facts and Figures

This is a small graph which quickly breaks down criteria for the 50 states.


"- State Funding Creation Presentation Function Control
Private agency, public dollars-Alabama Alabama And.pngx
1, 2, 4, 5[1]
Suggest.pngw

[2],
And.pngx

1, 2, 4, 5[3]
Suggest.pngw

[2]

Yes.pngp

[4],
And.pngx

1, 2, 4, 5[5]
Suggest.pngw

[2],
And.pngx

1, 2, 4, 5[6]
Private agency, public dollars-Alaska Alaska And.pngx

[7]

No.pngf No.pngf And.pngx

[7]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Arizona Arizona Yes.pngp

[8]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Arkansas Arkansas Yes.pngp

[9]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[10]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-California California And.pngx
1, 5[11]
And.pngx
2, 4[12]
No.pngf And.pngx
2, 4[12]
And.pngx
1, 5[11]
Private agency, public dollars-Colorado Colorado And.pngx
2, 1[13]
And.pngx

2, 4, 5[14];
2, 1[13]

No.pngf And.pngx

2, 4, 5[14]

And.pngx
2, 4, 5[14]
Private agency, public dollars-Connecticut Connecticut And.pngx
1, 2, 4, 5[15]
And.pngx
1, 2, 4, 5[15]
No.pngf And.pngx
1, 2, 4, 5[15]
And.pngx
1, 2, 4, 5[15]
Private agency, public dollars-Delaware Delaware And.pngx
1, 2[16]
And.pngx
1, 2: 2, 4[16]
No.pngf And.pngx
2, 4[16]
No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Florida Florida Suggest.pngw

[17]

Suggest.pngw

[17]

Suggest.pngw

[17]

Suggest.pngw

[17]

Suggest.pngw

[17]

Private agency, public dollars-Georgia Georgia Yes.pngp

[18]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[19]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Hawaii Hawaii No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[20]

Private agency, public dollars-Idaho Idaho No.pngf Yes.pngp

[21]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Illinois Illinois No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Indiana Indiana Yes.pngp

[22]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Iowa Iowa No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[23]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Kansas Kansas Yes.pngp

[24]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Kentucky Kentucky Yes.pngp

[25] And.pngx

1, 3, 4, 5[26]
And.pngx
2, 5[25]
And.pngx
1, 3, 4, 5[27]
And.pngx
1, 3, 4, 5[28]
And.pngx
2, 5[25]: 1, 3, 4, 5[29]
Private agency, public dollars-Louisiana Louisiana And.pngx
1, 4[30]
No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[31]
And.pngx

1, 4[30]
No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Maine Maine Suggest.pngw
1, 2, 4, 5[32]
Suggest.pngw

1, 2, 4, 5[32]

No.pngf And.pngx
4, 5[33],
Suggest.pngw 1, 2, 4, 5[32]
And.pngx
4, 5[33],
Suggest.pngw

1, 2, 4, 5[32]

Private agency, public dollars-Maryland Maryland No.pngf Yes.pngp

[34][35]

No.pngf Yes.pngp

[34]

Yes.pngp

[34]

Private agency, public dollars-Massachusetts Massachusetts Suggest.pngw

1, 4, 5[36]

No.pngf

[37]

No.pngf Suggest.pngw

1, 4, 5[36]

Suggest.pngw
1, 4, 5[36]
Private agency, public dollars-Michigan Michigan Yes.pngp

[38]

Yes.pngp

[38]

And.pngx And.pngx
4, 5[39]
And.pngx
4, 5[39]
Private agency, public dollars-Minnesota Minnesota Yes.pngp

[40][41]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[42][41]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Mississippi Mississippi No.pngf Yes.pngp

[41]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Missouri Missouri Yes.pngp

[43]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[43]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Montana Montana Yes.pngp

[44]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[45]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Nebraska Nebraska Yes.pngp

[46]

Yes.pngp

[47]

No.pngf Yes.pngp

[48]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Nevada Nevada No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[49]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-New Hampshire New Hampshire No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[50]

Yes.pngp

[51]

Private agency, public dollars-New Jersey New Jersey Yes.pngp

[52]

Yes.pngp

[53]

No.pngf Yes.pngp

[54]

Yes.pngp

[55]

Private agency, public dollars-New Mexico New Mexico And.pngx
1, 2[56]
And.pngx
1, 2[57]
No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-New York New York No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[58]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-North Carolina North Carolina No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[59]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-North Dakota North Dakota Yes.pngp

[60]

And.pngx

2, 4[60]

And.pngx Yes.pngp

[61],
And.pngx 2, 4[60]

And.pngx
Private agency, public dollars-Ohio Ohio Yes.pngp

[62],
And.pngx

1, 4[63]
And.pngx
2, 4[64]
No.pngf And.pngx
2, 4[64], 
And.pngx 1, 4[65],
And.pngx 4, 5[66]
And.pngx
4, 5[67]
Private agency, public dollars-Oklahoma Oklahoma Yes.pngp

[68]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[69][68]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Oregon Oregon Suggest.pngw
1, 2, 4, 5[70]
Yes.pngp

[71],
Suggest.pngw 1, 2, 4, 5[70]

No.pngf Suggest.pngw

1, 2, 4, 5[70]

Suggest.pngw

1, 2, 4, 5[70]

Private agency, public dollars-Pennsylvania Pennsylvania No.pngf And.pngx
2, 4[72]
No.pngf And.pngx
2, 4[72]
No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Rhode Island Rhode Island No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[73]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-South Carolina South Carolina Yes.pngp

[74]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[75]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-South Dakota South Dakota No.pngf

,[76]

And.pngx

[77]

No.pngf And.pngx

[78]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Tennessee Tennessee Suggest.pngw

[79]

Suggest.pngw

[79]

No.pngf And.pngx

[79]

Suggest.pngw

[79]

Private agency, public dollars-Texas Texas Yes.pngp

[80]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[81]

Private agency, public dollars-Utah Utah And.pngx
1, 4[82]
And.pngx
2, 4[82]
No.pngf And.pngx
1, 4; 2, 4[82]
No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Vermont Vermont No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Virginia Virginia Yes.pngp

[83]

No.pngf No.pngf Yes.pngp

[84]

No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Washington Washington Suggest.pngw

[85]

Suggest.pngw

[85]

No.pngf Suggest.pngw

[85]

Suggest.pngw

[85]

Private agency, public dollars-West Virginia West Virginia Yes.pngp

[86]

Yes.pngp

[87]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf
Private agency, public dollars-Wisconsin Wisconsin And.pngx
1, 4[88], 
Suggest.pngw

[89]

Suggest.pngw

[89]

Suggest.pngw

[89]

And.pngx
1, 4[90]
Suggest.pngw

[89]

Suggest.pngw

[89]

Private agency, public dollars-Wyoming Wyoming No.pngf Yes.pngp

[91]

No.pngf No.pngf No.pngf

References

  1. Stone v. Consolidated Publishing Co
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Water Works & Sewer Board of the City of Talladega v. Consolidated Publishing Inc.
  3. Stone v. Consolidated Publishing Co
  4. For all municipal agencies, see: Water Works Board of Town of Parrish v. White
  5. Stone v. Consolidated Publishing Co
  6. Stone v. Consolidated Publishing Co
  7. 7.0 7.1 Municipality of Anchorage v. Anchorage Daily News
  8. Arizona Statute 39.121.02
  9. Arkansas statute 25-19-103 5A
  10. City of Fayetteville v. Edmark
  11. 11.0 11.1 California Statute 54952(c)(d)
  12. 12.0 12.1 International Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union v. Los Angeles Export Terminal, Inc.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Zubeck v. El Paso County Retirement Plan
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Denver Post v. Stapleton Development
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Ruling of the Court
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Delaware Statute 29.100.10002
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 News and Sun-Sentinel Company v. Schwab, Twitty, & Hanser Architecture Group
  18. Georgia Code 50-14-1
  19. Georgia Code 50-18-70
  20. Hawaii Statute 92F.3
  21. Idaho Open Meetings Act, statute 67-2341
  22. Indiana Access to Public Records Act
  23. Iowa Code 22.1
  24. Kansas Statute 45-240
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Kentucky Statute 61.870.2
  26. Kentucky Central v. Park Broadcasting
  27. Kentucky Central v. Park Broadcasting
  28. Kentucky Central v. Park Broadcasting
  29. Kentucky Central v. Park Broadcasting
  30. 30.0 30.1 State of Louisiana v. Nicholls College Foundation
  31. Louisiana Statute RS 44:1 This is questionable and may have been overturned by State of Louisiana v. Nicholls College Foundation
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Town of Burlington v. Hospital Administrative District No. 1
  33. 33.0 33.1 Maine Statute 1.13.402
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 City of Baltimore Development Corporation v. Carmel Realty Associates
  35. Moberly v. Herboldsheimer
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Bello v. South Shore Hospital did not establish this but merely referred to the potential for these factors to result in a public body.
  37. Connelly v. School Committee of Hanover
  38. 38.0 38.1 Michigan Statute 15-232
  39. 39.0 39.1 Jackson v. Eastern Michigan University, This only applies to the Michigan Open Meetings Act.
  40. Only applies to community action groups under the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Minnesota statute 13.2
  42. Only applies to agencies who contract with the government for social services.
  43. 43.0 43.1 Missouri Sunshine Law
  44. Montana Statute 2.3.203
  45. Common Cause v. Statutory Committee
  46. Nixon v. Madison County Agricultural Society
  47. Nebraska Open Meetings Act, 84-1409
  48. Nebraska Open Meetings Act, 84-1409
  49. This only applies to educational foundations(Nevada Statute 239.005) and local government corporations(Nevada Statute 239.121).
  50. Union Leader Corporation v. NH Housing Finance Authority
  51. New Hampshire Statute 91-a-1
  52. New Jersey statute 10:4-8
  53. New Jersey Statute C.47:1A-1.1
  54. New Jersey statute 10:4-8
  55. Times of Trenton v. Lafayette Yard CDC
  56. New Mexico Statute 14-2-6
  57. New Mexico Statute 14-2-6
  58. New York Statute 6-86
  59. Coats v. Sampson County Memorial Hospital, Inc.
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 North Dakota Statute 44-04-17.1
  61. Forum Publishing Company v. City of Fargo
  62. Ohio Statute 149-431
  63. State ex rel. Fostoria Daily Review Co. v. Fostoria Hospital Association
  64. 64.0 64.1 Ohio statute 149-011
  65. State ex rel. Fostoria Daily Review Co. v. Fostoria Hospital Association
  66. State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Krings
  67. State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Krings
  68. 68.0 68.1 Oklahoma Statute 24A.3
  69. If the function relates to the operation of public property.
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 70.3 Marks v. McKenzie High School Fact Finding Team
  71. ORS 192.410(4)(a)
  72. 72.0 72.1 Pennsylvania Records Act Chapter 1 statute 102
  73. Rhode Island statute 38-2-2
  74. South Carolina Code 30-4-20
  75. Includes advisory committees, see Quality Towing Inc. v. City of Myrtle Beach
  76. the law does include tax supported business districts, see:South Dakota statute 1-27-1-1
  77. South Dakota Open Meetings Law 1-25-1
  78. South Dakota Open Meetings Law 1-25-1
  79. 79.0 79.1 79.2 79.3 Function is required but not always sufficient in and of itself. The court requires the test to check for the remaining non-required factors. See:Memphis Publishing Co. v. Cherokee Children & Family Services
  80. Texas Government Code 552.003
  81. Blankenship v. Brazos Higher Education Authority
  82. 82.0 82.1 82.2 Utah Code 63G-2-103
  83. Virginia Statute 2.2-3701
  84. Virginia Statute 2.2-3701
  85. 85.0 85.1 85.2 85.3 Telford v. Thurston County Board of Commissioners
  86. West Virginia Code 29B-1-2
  87. West Virginia Code 29B-1-2 and Queen v. W. Va. University Hospitals
  88. When performing a function for health and public safety. Wisconsin Statute 19.32
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 89.3 89.4 State of Wisconsin v. Beaver Dam Area Development Corporation
  90. When performing a function for health and public safety. Wisconsin Statute 19.32
  91. Wyoming Statute Article 4, 16-4-402(a.ii)