2021 legislative session | Senator Cam Ward from Alabaster is sponsoring a bill he says would provide more … ; Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense. Let us know! The board may from time to time, as conditions justify, consolidate or subdivide the districts to facilitate registration. Local measures | [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. Exemptions in Alabama can also be tricky to navigate. the public disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be detrimental to the public safety or welfare.” Ala. Code § 36-12-40 (Supp. Healthcare | 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. BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - When it comes to transparency, one Alabama senator says our state is as murky as it gets. Public records are the only tools the public — not just the media or nosy environmentalists — have to see what our government is up to. Have a public records success story? For any certificate and the annexation of the state seal, there will be a charge of $5.00. File a complaint in the state circuit court in the county where the custodian of the records resides. Alabama Public Records Law, like most states’ laws, can be vague and at times difficult to pin down. Instead a civil action must be filed in order to potentially free the record. Chandler the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that records may not be requested for mere "idle curiosity." Welcome to the Secretary of State's Government Records section. This Ballotpedia article is in need of updates. They may be requested by anyone who can provide enough information to search for the record and submit payment of the proper fee. Ballot measure laws | It might difficult to find records in Alabama if you don’t know where to find authentic information about public records, marriage records, birth records and divorce records and so on. The statewide program called ViSION allow every health department in every Alabama county to also issue the same information. Search by Keyword or Citation; Search by Keyword or Citation . 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. There is no set appeals process for Public Records Law in Alabama. The format of this publication is intended to outline the key aspects of public records laws and facilitate comparisons between each state. 4. Yes, if one is a citizen of the United States they can request public records. Largest cities | Provided however, registration and circulation records and information concerning the use of the public, public school or college and university libraries of this state shall be exempted from this section. The law can be found at statutes 36.25A.1 - 36.25A.11 of the Code of Alabama. Alabama has no language in its public records code that specifies how long they have to comply with your request. By Alabama law, marriage certificates are unrestricted. 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. 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 Alabama Public Records Law is ambiguous as to whether the law applies to the legislature. Terms Used In Alabama Code 16-22-14. However, a number of lawsuits have altered this. | Depending on what you’re interested in, these exemptions can make the Alabama Public Records Law (APRL) challenging to deal with, particularly when requesting certain kinds of information. Environment | See Code of Alabama 1975 section 36-14-3. Return to: Guide to Court Resources House of Representatives | Many Alabama public records are available to view for free online or at the government office tasked with housing them. 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). List of who can make public record requests by state, Alabama Local Government Records Commission, Dunn v. Alabama State University Board of Trustees, Montgomery Advertiser v. Montgomery County Board of Education, Slawson & Furman v. Alabama Forestry Commission. 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. Public Records Directory; General Resources. 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. The definition of public body presumably includes public universities within the state. However, due to the language of the law not specifying where one must be a citizen from, Alabama can deny a request because they are not an Alabama citizen. § 22-9A-5. Alabama Recording Law Summary: Ala. Code § 13A-11-30. District Courts | While the law states that any citizen can file a request, it is not specified what one must be a citizen of, and in some cases this is used to deny a request as they can argue that one must be a citizen of Alabama. MuckRock is a non-profit collaborative news site that gives you the tools to keep our government transparent and accountable. It was assigned to the Constitution, Campaign Finance, Ethics and Elections Committees in the Senate. In some cases, they can access additional information for a fee. [4], Senate Bill 353 would have made any meeting in which a state party participates subject to the state's Open Meetings Act. 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. Want the latest investigative and FOIA news? Campaign finance requirements | 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." Ala. Code § 36-12-40. The law was first enacted in 1923 and changed in 1983, and then in 2004. 2. It is also important to note Alabama has no appeals process for a denied records request. Court Decisions and information, Constitution, Legislation, Rules of Practice and Procedure, Administrative Law Sources, Municipal Codes, legal publications, and forms. Code §36-25A-1 et seq. No, Alabama law does not allow for a records custodian or ombudsman. This makes civil action the only other recourse for someone wishing to challenge the state’s ruling, which can be expensive and time consuming. 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. New bill aims to overhaul current Alabama Open Records Law. Alabama grants every "citizen" the right to access open records. This Tuesday afternoon, Senator Cam Ward (R-Alabaster) plans to do something … [3] Since there are a multitude of records available, it can be difficult to know how or where to access them. There is no language in the bill which states how long the state has to respond to a request. Furthermore, agencies don’t need to have a designated records custodian and no ombudsman exists here, so there are few places one can go to have an advocate for their request. The history of Alabama case law lends itself to two clear applications of public records laws to nonprofits or private entities. Animals Title 4. 92-607, p. 1255, §4.) Alabama Public Records. 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. [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. Court of Civil Appeals | This is punishable with a one year jail sentence, however the Attorney General does not have power to enforce the Public Records Law himself. [7], Senate Bill 399 sought to make background checks performed on employees of secondary education institutions confidential and not subject to public records laws. Congressional delegation | Residents and non-residents may submit requests. [5], Senate Bill 207 was the companion bill to House Bill 154. Alabama Constitution of 1901 Title 1. Code §36-25A-1 et seq. Elections calendar | Public pensions | The Alabama code provides an expansive definition to "public officers," which includes not only elected or appointed officials but also "all persons whatsoever occupying positions in state institutions."[13]. 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. 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. This section provides you easy access to public information contained in our databases. Agriculture Title 3. [8] It was assigned to the Education Committee in the Senate. Yes, they need to be able to cite why your request was denied, or why a portion was redacted or withheld. Ballot access for candidates | . – A new bill being offered aims to change Alabama’s open records law. grants citizens the right to inspect and copy public writings. 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. 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. if(document.getElementsByClassName("reference").length==0) if(document.getElementById('Footnotes')!==null) document.getElementById('Footnotes').parentNode.style.display = 'none'; Alabama elections in 2021 | . The information found in this guide reflects the statutes as of the date of this publication. 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. charged with keeping public records. A person commits the crime of tampering with governmental records if; (1) “He knowingly makes a false entry in or falsely alters any governmental record; or (2) Knowing he lacks the authority to do so, he intentionally destroys, mutilates, conceals, removes or otherwise substantially impairs the verity or availability of any governmental record; or (3) Knowing he lacks the authority to retain a governmental record he refuses to deliver up the record in his possession upon proper request of a person lawfully entitled to receive such record for examination or other purposes.” Ala. Code § 13A-10-12(a) (1994). Circuit Courts | School districts in Alabama | Public Records Law Al. [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. In practice, this isn’t always the case. "[12], Exemptions to the definition of public records include the records of library materials checked out by library patrons (except in the case of minors, whose parents may request records) and records relating to the security of individuals and infrastructure.[12]. Alabama public records law doesn’t benefit the public. There are no appeals for a Public Records decision in the State of Alabama. Largest counties | Cost. [3] Its companion bill in the Senate was Senate Bill 208. The official Alabama code does not impose any limitations on the use of records. [3] It was assigned to the Government Operations Committee on February 26, 2009. 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. Alabama Public Records Law The Alabama Public Records Law under Al. This statute states “public records” shall include 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 … They collect, archive and issue certified copies of birth, death, marriage and divorce certificates. (Source: Pixabay) By Shannon Isbell | July 9, 2019 at 4:02 PM CDT - Updated July 12 at 5:36 AM . However, the broad definition of public body would presumably include state legislators. This is especially so with no designated records custodian, and no language forcing them to expedite the process. Generally, searchers can determine where the records they wish to view are located through internet searches. 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.