At a glance
State Open Records Act
Who is covered?
The law covers state government agencies and the governor's office but does not apply to the state Legislature. It also covers county and municipal governments, as well as school boards. Other entities that receive primary funding from the government also may be covered. The law does not cover the federal government.
What is open?
All government records, including expenditure reports, communications and personnel data, are considered open unless they are specifically exempted under the Oklahoma Open Records Act or some other law. An agency denying access to records has the burden of proving that the record is privileged and must cite the specific exemption that allows them to deny release of the records. Some of the records exempt from the law include:
• Certain personnel records such as evaluations, payroll deductions, home phone numbers and addresses.
• Law enforcement investigatory records. Initial offense reports, arrest records, jail registers, radio logs and crime summaries are among the police records required to be open. Court records also are open unless sealed by the courts.
• Information supplied to a government body that would comprise the bidding process for government contracts such as preliminary bid specifications and contents of sealed bids.
• Litigation and investigatory files of the attorney general and district and municipal attorneys.
• Individual student records, teachers' lesson plans and other education information required to be confidential.
Copying and search fees
Most government agencies can charge up to 25 cents per page for paper copies of records, although certified copies may cost more in some offices. Agencies may charge the actual cost of copying electronic files to a blank disk or CD. A search fee can only be charged if the records are being requested for a purely commercial purpose or if the request would clearly cause excessive disruption of the essential functions of the public body. A search fee cannot be charged when the release is in the public interest, including to those seeking to determine if public officials are performing their duties honestly, faithfully and competently.