Q&A: Follow-up records requests


From The Banner:

Q: We’ve asked our local department of health for a record request that includes specific dates and any applicable records created while they are compiling our records. The department said they would only honor the request as of the date the request was made. Do we need to make follow-up requests?

A: The Public Access Counselor’s view on ongoing requests for records is that the public agency can deny request for records it hasn’t created yet because they don’t exist. This requires you to make repeat requests.

This process has been used to resist reporter’s effort to get school board packets prior to meetings. Instead of honoring one request for the
whole year, they require reporter to repeat the request prior to each meeting.

There’s nothing preventing a public agency from agreeing to honor an ongoing request, but they don’t have to do so if they want to make it
harder for you.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.