open records laws

CSG Midwest

Earlier this year, to coincide with an open-government initiative known as Sunshine Week, reporters from the Associated Press sent requests for the records of legislative leaders in all 50 states. They asked for lawmakers’ daily schedules as well as emails from their government accounts. In most cases, AP reported in March, its reporters came away empty-handed, as they ran into more denials for the requests than approvals.

This right to deny access to certain records is a long-standing, widespread prerogative of legislators in states across the country — the result of a mix of constitutional language and principles, statutory language, and legal opinions.