Saturday, June 11, 2011

AK State Public Record Law and FOIA

Palin official e-mails released

Digg post:

All 50 states also have public records laws which allow members of the public (including non-residents) to obtain documents and other public records from state and local government bodies. State public records laws are not identical to FOIA nor are state court interpretations of similar language in state statutes necessarily the same as federal court interpretation of FOIA (though many were modeled upon the federal FOIA).



Alaska Freedom of Information

In Alaska, the statutes 40.25.100 to 40.25.125 define the Alaska Public Records Law (APRA).  It is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to the public records of government bodies at all levels.  The statutes 44.62.310 – 44.62.470 of the Alaska code define the Alaska Open Meetings Act.  The act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted in the state.  The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states that “All meetings of a governmental body of a public entity of the state are open to the public” and that:

the governmental units mentioned in AS 44.62.310 (a) exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business;

it is the intent of the law that actions of those units be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly;

the people of the state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them;

the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know;

the people’s right to remain informed shall be protected so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created;

the use of teleconferencing is for the convenience of the parties, the public, and the governmental units conducting the meetings.


Department of Law:

How can I get a copy of a record from a state agency?

Ask the agency for it. There may be a charge for copying depending on the size of the document. Some documents are confidential under the Alaska Public Records Act or another provision of state or federal law. Alaska’s Public Records Act is located at AS 40.25.100-.220 [ ].

Sec. 40.25.120. Public records; exceptions; certified copies.

(a) Every person has a right to inspect a public record in the state, including public records in recorders' offices, except


Freedom of Information Center - State FOI Laws ( see site for other states )


Alaska's FOI Law -- Relevant section begins at Section 40.25.110 Re: inspection, copying, and fees of open public records. [ ]

Alaska Open Meetings Law -- A.S. 44.62.310-312 et seq. [ ]

Recent NFOIC News Headlines


AK Government Transparency - Public Records Request ( note: not Freedom of Information Act - separate from Public Record Act in this particular situation )

Summary of request:

Public-records quest: [Public Office] records involve email between the Yahoo accounts of Palin and her husband, Todd, and the about 50 state public officials and communications using authorized equipment [ which she attempted to circumvent - knowingly or unknowingly ]. She and her staff used personal Yahoo accounts to conduct some state business outside the normal reach of public records requests. Further more Palin CC'ed Her Husband Government related information from both Private [ Yahoo ] and Public [ Gov Provided ] accounts, equipment, devices.

Alaska governor’s office delayed releasing info, citing state regulations that allow delays when public-records requests are deemed unusually burdensome.

Pending in the Alaska Supreme Court: Yahoo accounts that did not pass through state computers, should also be considered a public record


As for the " Freedom of Information Act " again not directly related to Palin's " Alaska Government Transparency Public Records Request [ Act ] "

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law ensuring public access to U.S. government records. FOIA carries a presumption of disclosure; the burden is on the government - not the public - to substantiate why information may not be released. Upon written request, agencies of the United States government are required to disclose those records, unless they can be lawfully withheld from disclosure under one of nine specific exemptions in the FOIA. This right of access is ultimately enforceable in federal court.

COLLECTION: Freedom of Information (FOIA)
Partner: Stanford University, Social Sciences Resource Group