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Open Records Act 51 O.S. Sec. 24A.1 The Basics. General Principals For most public bodies, all records are available to the public, unless expressly restricted.

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Presentation on theme: "Open Records Act 51 O.S. Sec. 24A.1 The Basics. General Principals For most public bodies, all records are available to the public, unless expressly restricted."— Presentation transcript:

1 Open Records Act 51 O.S. Sec. 24A.1 The Basics

2 General Principals For most public bodies, all records are available to the public, unless expressly restricted. Police, Law, Information Systems, and Health, all records are presumed restricted unless expressly opened. Does not create Rights of Privacy

3 Definitions Record means all: Documents Film Data Files Recordings Public Body Virtually any gov. other than judges & state legislature Supported by/entrusted with Public Funds Excluded from Def. Software Personal effects Personal Financial Information State Transportation State Tourism Some DPS & DOD

4 Record Keeping Requirements 24A.4 Receipt and Expenditure of all public funds on all financial or business transactions No other requirements to create (x2) Once created, can destroy after appropriate time set by other law.

5 Confidential Materials (Sec. 24.A5) Anything protected by an evidentiary privilege Personal information on driving records Lawful Executive Sessions Board of Medicolegal investigations What other laws make confidential Mixed materials Delete the confidential material OSBI and DPS special rules Open materials copied in the form in which they are kept – no requirement to process

6 Fees and costs <=25 cents/page up to 8 ½ by 14 <=$1.00/ page certified IFF request is commercial (but not news media) or causes excessive disruption, then reasonable fee to cover direct costs of search Fees must be posted-Office/county clerk No search fee if release in the public interest – Media, Scholars, authors, and possibly some taxpayers

7 PART TIME GOVERNMENT OFFICES A. If a public body or its office does not have regular business hours of at least thirty (30) hours a week, the public body shall post and maintain a written notice at its principal office and with the county clerk where the public body is located which notice shall: 1. Designate the days of the week when records are available for inspection, copying or mechanical reproduction; 2. Set forth the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the individual in charge of the records; and 3. Describe in detail the procedures for obtaining access to the records at least two days of the week, excluding Sunday. B. The person requesting the record and the person authorized to release the records of the public body may agree to inspection, copying, or mechanical reproduction on a day and at a time other than that designated in the notice.

8 Government must provide Prompt, reasonable access to copies At least one responsible person at all regular business hours (special rules for office open < 30 hours/week) Procedures to protect the integrity of the records Not required to allow direct and unsupervised access to originals Notice to private parties with an affected interest

9 Personnel Records Exclude Internal Applications Selection criteria and materials Evaluations Payroll deductions Applications of those not hired Home address, phone, Soc. Sec. # (24A.7) Open Applications of employees and dates Gross receipts of public funds Final disciplinary action* Employee gets everything in own file**

10 Law enforcement records – confidential (24A.8) except only: Arrestee name and description Facts of arrest/officer Chronological incident list Radio logs Conviction information Warrant disposition Crime summaries Jail registers DOC releases sex offender registries CLEAT and DPS have some additional rules Court ordered release

11 The following are not open records: Personal notes of a public officer, at least prior to taking any action or making a report (budget requests are open) (24A.9) Research materials Customer credit/banking data (but not cust. Addresses, rates, charges, $ of Utilities) Federal records in local hands (24A.13) Bid Specs. Prior to bidding 24A.10 Contents of sealed bids Software (but not data) Appraisals prior to award of contract Prospective locations of private businesses (but not permits data) Library, archive, museum – condition of gifts Copyrighted material OK. Med. Center-Market Research and Marketing Plans 24A.10a

12 Attorney General, District Attorney, Municipal Attorney Litigation files Work Product Potential witnesses and exhibits (other law differs) Tactical issues and Strategic issues Settlements NOT protected: No confidentiality unless by Court order. Investigatory files Tort claims Personnel issues Note - public records do not become private by being sent to the attorney, just get them from the source department. (24A.20)

13 Petition for redress - Confidential Personal communications Received by an official Person Exercising constitutional rights Identity of petitioner* However, may reveal Communication received Was/was not a complaint Official response*

14 Special Rules – 24.A15 TO 24.A26 Department of Agriculture Educational institutions CLEAT, DPS, DOC State Board of Regents Corporation Commission Department of Wildlife Office of Juvenile Oversight Intergovernmental Insurance Pools Governments owned technology or current research Office of Juvenile Oversight Insurance Pools

15 Exemptions from Disclosure (24A.27) Vulnerability Assess. Water/Waste Water Investigation of Terrorism (x2) Vulnerability Asses. All public facilities Deterrence and prevention - terrorism Response and remediation – terrorism IT info. (x7) Homeland Security Record (state and fed) Grant records and financial records open

16 Governmentally Owned Utilities Must provide public access to the address, rate paid for services, charges, consumption rates, adjustments to the bill, reasons for adjustment, the name of the person that authorized the adjustment, and payment for each customer May keep confidential credit information, credit card numbers, telephone numbers, social security numbers, bank account information for individual customers May keep confidential utility supply and utility equipment supply contracts for any industrial customer with a connected electric load in excess of two thousand five hundred (2,500) kilowatts if public access to such contracts would give an unfair advantage to competitors of the customer.

17 Non-government Owned Utilities A. The Corporation Commission shall keep confidential those records of a public utility, its affiliates, suppliers and customers which the Commission determines are confidential books and records or trade secrets. B. As used in this section, “public utility” means any entity regulated by the Corporation Commission, owning or operating for compensation in this state equipment or facilities for: 1. Producing, generating, transmitting, distributing, selling or furnishing electricity; 2. The conveyance, transmission, or reception of communication over a telephone system; or 3. Transmitting directly or indirectly or distributing combustible hydrocarbon natural or synthetic natural gas for sale to the public. See 24A.2 Note that this expressly does not cover Government Owned Utilities

18 Information re: terrorism (24A.28) Investigations Vulnerability assessments Deterrence/protection Response/remediation Related IT information Homeland Security information Grants and financial information is open

19 Penalties for violations – 24A.17 Criminal misdemeanor Fine <= $500.00 Jail <= 1 year both Civil Declaratory relief Injunctive relief Attorney fees Note, there is no liability to anyone for properly allowing access Officials recover atty.fees only for frivolous suit

20 Judicial Protective Orders Possible Many rules and copies may be modified to delete confidential information, but official records will not be altered or amended. 24A.29

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