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State sunshine laws
State sunshine laws are the laws in each state that govern public access to governmental records. These laws are sometimes known as open records laws or public records laws, and are also collectively referred to as FOIA laws, after the federal Freedom of Information Act.
If you are looking for the laws that regulate open meetings in each state, please see State Open Meetings Laws.
The law in each state
Aspects of the laws
- Private agency, public dollars
- List of who can make public record requests by state
- Years that state FOIA laws were enacted
- Request response times by state
- How much do public records cost?
- States with FOIA ombudsmen
- Public access to concealed carry lists
Proposed changes to the laws
Evaluating websites for sunshine law information
- Find your state or county at Sunshine Review
Sunshine Review's transparency checklist incorporates a section for the affirmative disclosure of the following information, which is critical for submitting public records requests:
- When a citizen wants to file an open records request, which employee handles those requests?
- What is that employee's contact information?
- The school district website should provide this information in a very easy-to-locate position on their website.
- The school district website should lay out the procedure for a citizen to follow who wants access to public records.
- The information should be user-friendly.
- The school district website should include an annual rating of its FOIA compliance: How many requests did it receive in a given year, how many did it comply with, the average time required for compliance, and reasons for denials. If the school district is currently being sued for failure to provide public documents, this information should be included.
- If the school district has been ordered by a judge or public records ombudsman to provide documents it refused to produce in response to a public records request, this information should be a permanent record posted on the school district's website.