List of who can make public record requests by state

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NevadaNew Hampshire
New MexicoNew Jersey
New YorkNorth Carolina
North DakotaOhioOklahoma
OregonPennsylvaniaRhode Island
South CarolinaSouth Dakota
West VirginiaWisconsinWyoming
Eight states currently have a law that says that only state residents can request copies of public documents: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia.

In 2006, a federal appeals court (the Third Circuit) in the case Lee v. Minner rejected the constitutionality of Delaware's law that disallowed non-residents from making public record requests.

The Third Circuit's rulings apply to Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. As a result, the provision in the New Jersey Open Public Records Act that prohibits non-residents from access to records is likely to be considered invalid.

Some states also limit felons from receiving copies of public documents (Arkansas, Louisiana and Michigan), and there is some argument about the matter in Washington (see Washington Attorney General says felons have no right to public records).

In Pennsylvania, access to public records is limited to residents of the United States. Here is a list of fees charged by state:

West Virginia Freedom of Information Act

Anyone may request public records in West Virginia. The law explicitly states that "every person has a right to inspect or copy any public record of a public body in this state."[1]

Wisconsin Open Records Law

In general, "any requester has a right to inspect any record." (Wis. Stat. 19.35(1)(a)). However, people who are incarcerated and people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution are restricted in their rights of access to public documents.[1]

Contrary to the law in some other states, individuals who are litigants in a pending lawsuit with a governmental agency do not lose any of their rights as requestors with respect to documents they want from that agency.

Persons that are incarcerated can only request records involving themselves or their immediate families[2]. Those involuntarily committed cannot ask for records.

  1. Wisconsin Statute 19.35
  2. [Confirmed with Wisconsin AG's office on 9/27/2010 at Seminar on Open Records]


Wyoming Statutes, 16-4-202(a)

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