Making a Public Records Request to a Different State

Making public record requests to different states requires good preparation and knowledge of the process, as each state has its own laws regulating the release of public records.  Some states, such as Virginia, require that the requestor be a resident of the state.  In other states, the public record laws are written to require that the records be made available for viewing, but makes no requirement that public documents should be photocopied or mailed.  In other instances the requester might be required to cover the cost of the staff time involved in compiling the requested record. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press' Open Government Guide is a resource that can help whenever you need to make a request to an out-of-state agency.

The Open Government Guide provides an online look at the public record laws for each state detailing who can make requests, what costs can be applied, what records must be made available and how long agencies have to respond.