Government Records Oklahoma: Where to Obtain Government Records for the State of Oklahoma?
The Oklahoma Open Records Act was enacted in was enacted to ensure that all the citizens of Oklahoma have the right to know and be fully informed about their government. It allows the public to review government records so that they would be able to efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power. The law states that there is no mandatory response time or administrative appeals process to access these public records.
What is Considered to be Government Records?
A public record or a government can be any document, data file, photograph, video or sound recording, email, text messages or any other data concerning a public body in connection with the expenditure of public funds, the transaction of public business and the administering of public property. All public bodies are required to designate a records custodian to handle and manage their records. Any requests for access would be made to the custodian. However, there may be some exceptions that may shield some public records from exposure.
Here are some records which are not considered as public records in the State of Oklahoma:
- Personal financial information
- Computer software
- Certain Department of Defense forms
- Computer software
- Requests for information
- Toll collection audio/video
What is Considered to be Confidential Records?
There are laws and regulations that require some records to remain confidential. The leakage of information on these records could raise security and privacy concerns.
The following records are considered confidential in the State of Oklahoma:
- State evidentiary privilege
- Testing materials for State licensing exams
- Executive sessions
- Drivers’ personal information
- Other State or Federal statutes
- Social security numbers
All the public records which are not confidential are open to any person in Oklahoma for inspecting, copying, or mechanical reproduction during normal business hours. Even if you are not a citizen of Oklahoma, you can still file for a public records request.
Download the Open Records Act Request form from here and send it to the Oklahoma Office of the Attorney General.
The records custodians are not allowed to ask you anything more than what is required for them to fill their obligations under the law.
Generally, there is no charge for public records requests. If at all, they are limited to the direct copying costs or cost of materials needed to fulfill the request.
The Act states that the fees should -
- not exceed 25¢ per page for 8 ½ x 14” or smaller
- not exceed $1 for a certified copy
The records custodian can charge fees if the public records requests which are deemed purely commercial or are unduly burdensome to look for. A search fee cannot be charged if the release of records is in the public interest or to the news media.
If any person is denied access to a public record, they can file a civil suit for declaratory or injunctive relief or both. However, the suit is limited to records requested and denied prior to filing. Any official found guilty of violating the act can be imprisoned for up to one year or fined up to $500, or both.
Furthermore, if you have any questions regarding public records, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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