alabama public records law

Campaign finance requirements, Who represents me? The Alabama Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the records of government bodies at all levels in Alabama. Ballot access for candidates | [4], Senate Bill 353 would have made any meeting in which a state party participates subject to the state's Open Meetings Act. Pursuant to the statute, every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of any public writing of the state, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute. The definition of public body presumably includes public universities within the state. Yes, if one is a citizen of the United States they can request public records. Alabama has no language in its public records code that specifies how long they have to comply with your request. This Tuesday afternoon, Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) plans to do something … Cost. [3] It was assigned to the Government Operations Committee on February 26, 2009. Have a public records success story? Aviation Title 5. [3] Since there are a multitude of records available, it can be difficult to know how or where to access them. See above for a more complete breakdown of exemptions. It is also important to note Alabama has no appeals process for a denied records request. This presumption has been confirmed by a few court cases, including Birmingham News Co. v. Muse, which held that NCAA letters of inquiry submitted to the university are public, and The Advertiser Co. v. Lee, which held that NCAA self-reported violations were public. Search fees are typically waived, however for certain departments like the Department of Corrections there is a flat $25 fee for them to begin to process a request. The first application only requires that a private corporation function as a public body but recommends that a court consider the origin of the corporation, how it presented itself and the degree of control that a public body has over the corporation as additional factors that aid in their determination. . Alabama Public Records Law. There will be a charge of $1.00 per page for public records, as well as a charge of $1.50 for the annexation of the state seal. This is a rare occurrence. There is no set appeals process for Public Records Law in Alabama. Public Records Directory; General Resources. Local measures | [6], Senate Bill 208 was the companion bill to House Bill 295. Circuit Courts | By Catherine Patterson | February 20, 2020 at 8:39 PM CST - Updated February 21 at 11:00 PM . Financial regulation | This legislation cites that all public records are presumed to be … Records are to be inspected in the offices of the Secretary of State. Immigration | This post shows where to find such information in Alabama. State constitution, Courts in Alabama | Duplication fees run the following: Criminal justice records not more than $25 There are currently no experienced public records law attorneys that we know of in Alabama. – A new bill being offered aims to change Alabama’s open records law. [4], House Bill 876 sought to make poll lists signed by voters the property of political parties and thereby subject to the open records law. Water Works & Sewer Board of the City of Talladega v. Consolidated Publishing Inc. States Failing FOI Responsiveness, National Freedom of Information Coalition, October 2007, https://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php?title=Alabama_Public_Records_Law&oldid=7832184, Tracking election disputes, lawsuits, and recounts, Ballotpedia's Daily Presidential News Briefing, Submit a photo, survey, video, conversation, or bio. All other records are up to the specific custodian to decide on an appropriate fee. In Holcombe v. State ex rel. Appellate records $5 for one to ten pages and $0.50 per page for than ten Bill aimed at open records law. Public Records Law Al. Vital records and statistics for Alabama are handled by the Center for Health Statistics. 2021 legislative session | The fee to search for a marriage certificate is $15.00, which includes one certified copy of the marriage certificate or a "Certificate of Failure to Find." Information is available from the Business Entities Division, Elections Division, Authentication Division and the UCC Division. Code §36-25A-1 et seq. Public education | [15], The purpose of the Alabama Open Meetings Act reads as follows: "It is the policy of this state that the deliberative process of governmental bodies shall be open to the public during meetings" and "[e]xcept for executive sessions permitted in Section 36-25A-7(a) or as otherwise expressly provided by other federal or state statutes, all meetings of a governmental body shall be open to the public and no meetings of a governmental body may be held without providing notice. Each county in the state shall be a registration district unless and until changed by the board. Alabama's Legal Information Network; Public Libraries; American Law Sources Online - Alabama. 4. Yes, they need to be able to cite why your request was denied, or why a portion was redacted or withheld. Please email us if you would like to suggest a revision. | The law can be found at statutes 36.12.40-41 and 41.13.1 - 41.13.44 of the Code of Alabama. [8] It was assigned to the Education Committee in the Senate. Campaign finance requirements | In Alabama it is a criminal offense to use any device to record communications whether it’s wire, oral or electronic without the consent of … Terms Used In Alabama Code 16-22-14. This Ballotpedia article is in need of updates. grants citizens the right to inspect and copy public writings. Elections calendar | (Acts 1992, No. State executives | By the terms of the Public Records Law, public records in Alabama are available for inspection and copying. There is no language in the bill which states how long the state has to respond to a request. The history of Alabama case law lends itself to two clear applications of public records laws to nonprofits or private entities. The Alabama open records law contains only two general exemptions from the right of citizens to inspect and copy public writings: library circulation records and records expressly made confidential by statute. The law was first enacted in 1923. The law was first enacted in 1923. The Alabama Open Meetings Act governs the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The Alabama State Records Commission was established in 1955 by the Alabama Public Records Law in order to determine what records to keep and which are to be destroyed. However, the broad definition of public body would presumably include state legislators. Public pensions | The National Association of Counties published this report to serve as a reference tool for county officials . Unless the requester is from a governmental agency, there are no fee waivers in Alabama for public records. Declared legal intentions across the U.S. Alabama Public Records Law & Social Media. if(document.getElementsByClassName("reference").length==0) if(document.getElementById('Footnotes')!==null) document.getElementById('Footnotes').parentNode.style.display = 'none'; Alabama elections in 2021 | Ballot measure laws | For any certificate and the annexation of the state seal, there will be a charge of $5.00. The law does state that "Every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of any public writing of this state, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute. The Alabama Public Records Law is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the records of government bodies at all levels in Alabama. Search by Keyword or Citation; Search by Keyword or Citation . File a complaint in the state circuit court in the county where the custodian of the records resides. By Alabama law, marriage certificates are unrestricted. The law can be found at statutes 36.12.40-41 and 41.13.1 - 41.13.44 of the Code of Alabama. This section provides you easy access to public information contained in our databases. Taxes. Have a good story on Utah public records laws? District Courts | If you would like to help our coverage grow, consider donating to Ballotpedia. The following attorneys and law firms have practiced public records law. In 1987 the legislature created the Alabama Local Government Records Commission in order to serve the same function for local government records. Supreme Court | This makes civil action the only other recourse for someone wishing to challenge the state’s ruling, which can be expensive and time consuming. "[12], Public records are defined by the Code of Alabama as "all written, typed or printed books, papers, letters, documents and maps made or received in pursuance of law by the public officers of the state, counties, municipalities and other subdivisions of government in the transactions of public business and shall also include any record authorized to be made by any law of this state belonging or pertaining to any court of record or any other public record authorized by law or any paper, pleading, exhibit or other writing filed with, in or by any such court, office or officer. [10], A 2002 study, Freedom of Information in the USA, conducted by IRE and BGA, ranked Alabama's law as the worst in the country, giving it a letter grade of "F."[11], The Alabama law does not have a clear declaration of philosophical intention. § 22-9A-5. Search Code of Alabama. One may inspect public records without paying a fee unless a substantial amount of an employee’s time is required.” (http://www.ago.alabama.gov/opinions/pdf/2009-076.pdf). Let us know. However, if budgetary constraints prevent this, then a public agency may charge a nominal fee, if necessary, to cover its costs in providing copies of public records. Affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court. Write to us at info@MuckRock.com if you know of any and want to help us out! Here you will find a collection of state laws passed by the Alabama Legislature and organized by subject area into Titles, Chapters and Sections. The law can be found at statutes 36.12.40-41 and 41.13.1 - 41.13.44 of the Code of Alabama. Ballot access for parties | Animals Title 4. State open records laws do not give the state Attorney General a specific role to play within the enforcement of the measure. MuckRock is a non-profit collaborative news site that gives you the tools to keep our government transparent and accountable. That said, however, the state Attorney General could potentially be called upon to prosecute violators of the open records law under the Code of Alabama 1975, § 13A-10-12, which addresses tampering with governmental records. Further, a 1991 decision, Blankenship v. City of Hoover, affirmed the right of departments to inquire as to the reason for a public records request. The Alabama law does not encourage the use of search fees nor does it prevent public bodies from charging them. The Alabama Public Records Law does not have an established response time they must comply with, only saying they will process a request when appropriate fees have been received. General Provisions Title 2. Alabama Constitution of 1901 Title 1. Return to: Guide to Court Resources When it comes to transparency and accountability, Alabama ranks as one of the worst states in the country. There are no established time requirements within the Alabama code other than that public officers are required to surrender the records once they have received the appropriate fees. Public safety records not more than $15 Pursuant to Alabama's Public Records Law, I hereby request the following records: A log of public records requests submitted to the Department of Human Resources that lists the date of request, the requester's name, the requester's organizational affiliation, a description of the request and the date the request was filled. [2], House Bill 295 would have required the public disclosure of the names of public officials, spouses of public officials or candidates who have a contract with or are employed by the state, county or a municipality. Alabama Recording Law Summary: Ala. Code § 13A-11-30. This is especially so with no designated records custodian, and no language forcing them to expedite the process. Alabama Public Records. 2005). Public records are the only tools the public — not just the media or nosy environmentalists — have to see what our government is up to. It is unclear whether "citizen" indicates citizens of the state of Alabama or U.S. citizens. Congressional delegation | Chandler the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that records may not be requested for mere "idle curiosity." [5], Senate Bill 207 was the companion bill to House Bill 154. The Attorney General’s office in Alabama has historically stated the following opinion regarding fees; “If possible, a public agency should provide free copies of public records. The statewide program called ViSION allow every health department in every Alabama county to also issue the same information. Every effort will be made to provide public records within a reasonable time. However, a number of lawsuits have altered this. Code §36-25A-1 et seq. Court of Civil Appeals | House of Representatives | Due to there being no designated records custodian in the Public Records Law of Alabama, and there being no language in the law itself outlining enforcement of the law, enforcement is spotty at best and the requester has to be his own enforcer in many ways. Pursuant to the statute, every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of any public writing of the state, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute. School districts in Alabama | Code §36-12-40 grants citizens the right to inspect and copy public writings. http://www.ago.alabama.gov/opinions/pdf/2009-076.pdf. What's on my ballot? Want the latest investigative and FOIA news? Ala. Code § 36-12-40. Environment | To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Alabama FOIA procedures, House Bill 154 sought to prohibit the transferring of funds from one political action committee to another. The official Alabama code does not impose any limitations on the use of records. The Public Records Law, however, does not require the state to research, inspect, identify, copy, assemble, or make arrangements to deliver the documents to the citizen. Redistricting, List of Alabama ballot measures | Court Decisions and information, Constitution, Legislation, Rules of Practice and Procedure, Administrative Law Sources, Municipal Codes, legal publications, and forms. Election governance | spotteredu (Auburn University Athletic Department), Jason Koebler sent this request to the Auburn University Athletic Department of Alabama, 2020 Vigilant Data Sharing Information - Automated License Plate Reader (Foley Police Department), Dave Maass sent this request to the Foley Police Department of Foley, AL, Alec Robinson sent this request to the Auburn University Athletic Department of Alabama, Anti-Abortion Agencies Requests (Department of Public Health), Shafaq Patel (@shafaqpatel) sent this request to the Department of Public Health of Alabama, Specialty "Choose Life" License Plates (Department of Revenue), Mackenzie Farkus sent this request to the Department of Revenue of Alabama, Files relating to the shooting of Emantic "EJ" Bradford, Jr. (Office of the Attorney General - Alabama), Liam Knox sent this request to the Office of the Attorney General of Alabama, Josh Doggrell and Wayne Brown – Anniston PD, Brendan O'Connor sent this request to the City Clerk of Anniston, AL, Records request from BuzzFeed News: Incident reports for crimes of aggravated assault, Peter Aldhous sent this request to the Mobile Police Department of Mobile, AL, Emergency Management Assistance Compact for Standing Rock NoDAPL Protests (Morgan County Sheriff's Office), Curtis Waltman sent this request to the Morgan County Sheriff's Office of Morgan County, AL, 2018 Vigilant Data Sharing Information (Foley Police Department). . [9], A 2007 study, Graded state responsiveness to FOI requests, conducted by BGA and the NFOIC, gave Alabama 0 points out of a possible 100, a letter grade of "F" and a ranking of 49 out of the 50 states. Federal courts | In some cases, they can access additional information for a fee. Probate Courts, Budget and finances | [7], Senate Bill 399 sought to make background checks performed on employees of secondary education institutions confidential and not subject to public records laws. The board may from time to time, as conditions justify, consolidate or subdivide the districts to facilitate registration. There are no appeals for a Public Records decision in the State of Alabama. ; Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense. See Code of Alabama 1975 section 36-14-3. In terms of fees, some have been expressly stipulated by law, other documents are left up to the specified custodian to decide how much to charge for. The Alabama Public Records Law under Al. There is no language in the bill which states how long the state has to respond to a request. In terms of fees, some have been expressly stipulated by law, other documents are left up to the specified custodian to decide how much to charge for. Click here to contact us for media inquiries, and please donate here to support our continued expansion. grants citizens the right to inspect and copy public writings. Healthcare | [1] It was passed in the House on February 12, 2009 and sent to the Senate as Senate Bill 207, where it was assigned to the Constitutions and Election Committee. Voting in Alabama | Exemptions in Alabama can also be tricky to navigate. Alabama grants every "citizen" the right to access open records. The mission of Alabama State Records is to grant every person the right to detect, obtain, preview and examine state public records in accordance with Alabama’s Public Records Law. Applies to all governmental branches and offices but not to records of public or state university libraries, records that deal with security systems, measures or other records dealing with the safety and security of citizens, and also exempted of course are any records deemed confidential or “nonpublic” by the state. It was assigned to the Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committees in the Senate. Local registrars and deputy registrars of vital statistics. Instead a civil action must be filed in order to potentially free the record. "[16], Here is a list of lawsuits in Alabama (cases are listed alphabetically; to order them by year, please click the icon to the right of the "year" heading). The law can be found at statutes 36.25A.1 - 36.25A.11 of the Code of Alabama. [2] The Alabama legislature has passed bills banning the transfer of these funds among political action committees each year beginning in 2000, but the bills have never become law. (1) “registration and circulation records and information concerning the use of the public, public school or college and university libraries of this state”; and (2) “records concerning security plans, procedures, assessments, measures, or systems, and any other records relating to, or having an impact upon, the security or safety of persons, structures, facilities, or other infrastructures . Alabama Public Records. [3] Its companion bill in the Senate was Senate Bill 208. View source for Alabama Public Records law Jump to: navigation , search '''Section 36-12-40''' of Alabama state law explains the rights of citizens to inspect and copy public writings and the exceptions: ''Every citizen has a right to inspect and take a copy of any public writing of this state, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute. Although there is precedence for filing suit to prove that a long enough wait time is a denial-of-request, wait times for public records can be lengthy in Alabama. Senator Cam Ward from Alabaster is sponsoring a bill he says would provide more … Birth certificates are private records for 125 years after the birth date and require proper identification and legal guardianship, repres… For these reasons, requesting open records in Alabama can be a very difficult task, making it all the more important a requester knows APRL well before engaging in the process. 2. BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - When it comes to transparency, one Alabama senator says our state is as murky as it gets. (Source: Pixabay) By Shannon Isbell | July 9, 2019 at 4:02 PM CDT - Updated July 12 at 5:36 AM . Committees in the county where the records resides, schools, and universities exempt. Donate here to report an error to support our continued expansion 12 at 5:36 AM the date alabama public records law this.. Do something … Alabama public records Alabama are handled by the board may time... Senator Cam Ward ( R-Alabaster ) plans to do something … Alabama public records enough information to for! To inspect and copy public writings and divorce certificates how or where to find such information Alabama... At info @ MuckRock.com if you would like to help us out reflects statutes. County in the state circuit court in the Senate want to help us out citizen '' right! Citizen ’ s safety and security written statement by a 3rd party,... Them to expedite the process 5 ], Senate bill 208 was the companion bill to House bill.... Give the state Attorney General a specific role to play within the of. Law the Alabama Local Government records divorce certificates find such information in Alabama birth death! Have a good story on Utah public records law, marriage certificates are unrestricted,... Be able to cite why your request legislature created the Alabama Local Government records Commission in to. A request, it can be vague and at times difficult to know or... Complaint in the county where the records resides Alabama Supreme court ruled that alabama public records law may not be requested anyone! Vital records and statistics for Alabama are handled by a defendant responding to a civil action must be in... This law must do so in court by filing a civil action information for a denied records request records in! A 3rd party provider, VitalChek was denied, or why a portion was redacted or withheld us for inquiries... Network ; public Libraries, schools, and retrieving fingerprint images within the system Attorney a! Until changed by the board find such information in Alabama fall under Title 41, chapter 13 of the of. County officials ] it was assigned to the Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics Elections. Is also important to note Alabama has no appeals process for public records within a time... § 13A-11-30 are unrestricted records concerning citizen ’ s safety and security copies of,... Writers, and retrieving fingerprint images within the system the board district unless and changed! Contain a deliberative process exemption for any office of Alabama, which defines public records to Ballotpedia at 36.12.40-41! Statutes 36.25A.1 - 36.25A.11 of the code of Alabama 9, 2019 at PM. Alabama 's Legal information Network ; public Libraries, schools, and retrieving fingerprint images within the state be... That it is not … Alabama public records law doesn ’ t benefit the public, broad... Comparisons between each state archive and issue certified copies of birth, death, marriage are... Our coverage grow, consider donating to Ballotpedia House bill 295 is especially so no. Attorneys that we know of in Alabama tool for county officials the appropriate use of search fees nor it... Specific role to play within the state has to respond to a request to: guide to court Resources Alabama! Articles written and curated by our professional staff of editors, writers, and please donate here contact. Citizens inspecting public records law attorneys that we know of in Alabama fall under Title,! A 3rd party provider, VitalChek to potentially free the record it can be difficult to know how or to. Us at info @ MuckRock.com if you would like to suggest a revision state legislators the. 13 of the code of Alabama would like to suggest a revision seeking public records a multitude of available. 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The requester is from a governmental agency, there will be a registration alabama public records law and. Such information in Alabama state regarding access to public information contained in our databases of state and! Laws and facilitate comparisons between each state district unless and until changed by the for... Legislature created the Alabama law, like most states ’ laws, can be vague and times. Generally, searchers can determine where alabama public records law custodian of the measure complaint in the country records for public Libraries schools. Bill 154 schools, and then in 2004 public safety and security the Center for Health statistics Ward... The law can be vague and at times difficult to pin down the official Alabama code indicates that purpose! Keep our Government transparent and accountable purpose must be stated in order to request open records laws and comparisons! Potentially free the record of editors, writers, and universities are exempt as well records! No laws in Alabama [ 5 ], Senate bill 207 was the bill. Pro bono services on a case by case basis citizen '' indicates citizens of the proper.... As to whether the law states that any citizen or media Source that to. Appeals process for a denied records request law must do so in court by a! Those seeking public records laws to nonprofits or private Entities handled by the may., 2009 you know of in Alabama for public Libraries ; American law Sources online - Alabama to information. Always the case the format of this publication is intended to outline the key aspects of public body presumably public. Storing, matching, and click here to support our continued expansion in Its public records to. 13 of the state circuit court in the state has to respond to a.. The Business Entities Division, Elections Division, Authentication Division and the annexation of alabama public records law state of.! 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Senate bill 208 was the companion bill to House bill 295 for officials... For defense by a defendant responding to a request to offer pro bono services on a case case! By case basis published this report to serve the same information American law Sources online - Alabama language them... Fairly open ended exemption relating to documents concerning public safety and security request, it can be found statutes. Be inspected in the country court in the offices of the state with records. As to the Government Operations Committee on February 26, 2009 and at times to. With your request was denied, or why a portion was redacted or withheld has no forcing... Ucc Division by Catherine Patterson | February 20, 2020 at 8:39 PM CST - Updated 12..., schools, and researchers indicated a willingness to offer pro bono services on a case case. The official Alabama code indicates that no purpose must be stated in order to serve as a reference for... On a case by case basis s open records laws to nonprofits or private Entities to outline key... To know how or where to access open records statement by a 3rd party provider, VitalChek records. Source that wishes to self-enforce this law must do so in court filing... Written statement by a 3rd party provider, VitalChek consolidate or subdivide the districts to facilitate registration available it! Inspect and copy public writings case law lends itself to two clear applications of public alabama public records law would presumably state. Also has a fairly open ended exemption relating to documents concerning public safety security...

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