2010 Arkansas Code
Title 25 - State Government
Chapter 19 - Freedom of Information Act
§ 25-19-105 - Examination and copying of public records.

25-19-105. Examination and copying of public records.

(a) (1) (A) Except as otherwise specifically provided by this section or by laws specifically enacted to provide otherwise, all public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizen of the State of Arkansas during the regular business hours of the custodian of the records.

(B) (i) However, access to inspect and copy public records of the Department of Correction and the Department of Community Correction shall be denied to:

(a) A person who at the time of the request has pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of a felony and is incarcerated in a correctional facility; and

(b) The representative of a person under subdivision (a)(1)(B)(i)(a) of this section unless the representative is the person's attorney who is requesting information that is subject to disclosure under this section.

(ii) Access to inspect and copy public records of the Department of Correction and the Department of Community Correction shall be denied to a person under subdivision (a)(1)(B)(i)(a) of this section regardless of whether the records are in the possession of the Department of Correction, the Department of Community Correction, or another agency of the state.

(2) (A) A citizen may make a request to the custodian to inspect, copy, or receive copies of public records.

(B) The request may be made in person, by telephone, by mail, by facsimile transmission, by electronic mail, or by other electronic means provided by the custodian.

(C) The request shall be sufficiently specific to enable the custodian to locate the records with reasonable effort.

(3) If the person to whom the request is directed is not the custodian of the records, the person shall so notify the requester and identify the custodian, if known to or readily ascertainable by the person.

(b) It is the specific intent of this section that the following shall not be deemed to be made open to the public under the provisions of this chapter:

(1) State income tax records;

(2) Medical records, adoption records, and education records as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. 1232g, unless their disclosure is consistent with the provisions of that act;

(3) The site files and records maintained by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and the Arkansas Archeological Survey;

(4) Grand jury minutes;

(5) Unpublished drafts of judicial or quasi-judicial opinions and decisions;

(6) Undisclosed investigations by law enforcement agencies of suspected criminal activity;

(7) Unpublished memoranda, working papers, and correspondence of the Governor, members of the General Assembly, Supreme Court Justices, Court of Appeals Judges, and the Attorney General;

(8) Documents that are protected from disclosure by order or rule of court;

(9) (A) Files that if disclosed would give advantage to competitors or bidders and records maintained by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission related to any business entity's planning, site location, expansion, operations, or product development and marketing, unless approval for release of those records is granted by the business entity.

(B) However, this exemption shall not be applicable to any records of expenditures or grants made or administered by the commission and otherwise disclosable under the provisions of this chapter;

(10) (A) The identities of law enforcement officers currently working undercover with their agencies and identified in the Arkansas Minimum Standards Office as undercover officers.

(B) Records of the number of undercover officers and agency lists are not exempt from this chapter;

(11) Records containing measures, procedures, instructions, or related data used to cause a computer or a computer system or network, including telecommunication networks or applications thereon, to perform security functions, including, but not limited to, passwords, personal identification numbers, transaction authorization mechanisms, and other means of preventing access to computers, computer systems or networks, or any data residing therein;

(12) Personnel records to the extent that disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;

(13) Home addresses of nonelected state employees, nonelected municipal employees, and nonelected county employees contained in employer records, except that the custodian of the records shall verify an employee's city or county of residence or address on record upon request;

(14) Materials, information, examinations, and answers to examinations utilized by boards and commissions for purposes of testing applicants for licensure by state boards or commissions;

(15) Military service discharge records or DD Form 214, the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty of the United States Department of Defense, filed with the county recorder as provided under 14-2-102, for veterans discharged from service less than seventy (70) years from the current date;

(16) Vulnerability assessments submitted by a public water system on or before June 30, 2004, to the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency for a period of ten (10) years from the date of submission;

(17) (A) Records, including analyses, investigations, studies, reports, or recommendations, containing information relating to any Department of Human Services risk or security assessment, known or suspected security vulnerability, or safeguard related to compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 or protection of other confidential department information.

(B) The records shall include:

(i) Risk and security assessments;

(ii) Plans and proposals for preventing and mitigating privacy and security risks;

(iii) Emergency response and recovery records;

(iv) Privacy and security plans and procedures; and

(v) Any other records containing information that if disclosed might jeopardize or compromise efforts to secure and protect personal health information or other protected department information.

(C) This subdivision (b)(17) expires on July 1, 2009; and

(18) (A) Records, including analyses, investigations, studies, reports, recommendations, requests for proposals, drawings, diagrams, blueprints, and plans, containing information relating to security for any public water system.

(B) The records shall include:

(i) Risk and vulnerability assessments;

(ii) Plans and proposals for preventing and mitigating security risks;

(iii) Emergency response and recovery records;

(iv) Security plans and procedures; and

(v) Any other records containing information that if disclosed might jeopardize or compromise efforts to secure and protect the public water system.

(C) This subdivision (b)(18) expires on July 1, 2011; and

(19) Records pertaining to the issuance, renewal, expiration, suspension, or revocation of a license to carry a concealed handgun, or a present or past licensee under 5-73-301 et seq., including without limitation all records provided to or obtained by any local, state, or federal governments, their officials, agents, or employees in the investigation of an applicant, licensee, or past licensee and all records pertaining to a criminal or health history check conducted on the applicant, licensee, or past licensee except that:

(A) Information or other records regarding an applicant, licensee, or past licensee may be released to a law enforcement agency for the purpose of assisting in a criminal investigation or prosecution, or for determining validity of or eligibility for a license;

(B) Names of an applicant, licensee, or past licensee may be released as contained in investigative or arrest reports of law enforcement that are subject to release as public records; and

(C) The name and the corresponding zip code of an applicant, licensee, or past licensee may be released upon request by a citizen of Arkansas.

(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (b)(12) of this section, all employee evaluation or job performance records, including preliminary notes and other materials, shall be open to public inspection only upon final administrative resolution of any suspension or termination proceeding at which the records form a basis for the decision to suspend or terminate the employee and if there is a compelling public interest in their disclosure.

(2) Any personnel or evaluation records exempt from disclosure under this chapter shall nonetheless be made available to the person about whom the records are maintained or to that person's designated representative.

(3) (A) Upon receiving a request for the examination or copying of personnel or evaluation records, the custodian of the records shall determine within twenty-four (24) hours of the receipt of the request whether the records are exempt from disclosure and make efforts to the fullest extent possible to notify the person making the request and the subject of the records of that decision.

(B) (i) If the subject of the records cannot be contacted in person or by telephone within the twenty-four-hour period, the custodian shall send written notice via overnight mail to the subject of the records at his or her last known address. Either the custodian, requester, or the subject of the records may immediately seek an opinion from the Attorney General, who, within three (3) working days of receipt of the request, shall issue an opinion stating whether the decision is consistent with this chapter.

(ii) In the event of a review by the Attorney General, the custodian shall not disclose the records until the Attorney General has issued his or her opinion.

(C) However, nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prevent the requester or the subject of the records from seeking judicial review of the custodian's decision or the decision of the Attorney General.

(d) (1) Reasonable access to public records and reasonable comforts and facilities for the full exercise of the right to inspect and copy those records shall not be denied to any citizen.

(2) (A) Upon request and payment of a fee as provided in subdivision (d)(3) of this section, the custodian shall furnish copies of public records if the custodian has the necessary duplicating equipment.

(B) A citizen may request a copy of a public record in any medium in which the record is readily available or in any format to which it is readily convertible with the custodian's existing software.

(C) A custodian is not required to compile information or create a record in response to a request made under this section.

(3) (A) (i) Except as provided in 25-19-109 or by law, any fee for copies shall not exceed the actual costs of reproduction, including the costs of the medium of reproduction, supplies, equipment, and maintenance, but not including existing agency personnel time associated with searching for, retrieving, reviewing, or copying the records.

(ii) The custodian may also charge the actual costs of mailing or transmitting the record by facsimile or other electronic means.

(iii) If the estimated fee exceeds twenty-five dollars ($25.00), the custodian may require the requester to pay that fee in advance.

(iv) Copies may be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the custodian determines that the records have been requested primarily for noncommercial purposes and that waiver or reduction of the fee is in the public interest.

(B) The custodian shall provide an itemized breakdown of charges under subdivision (d)(3)(A) of this section.

(e) If a public record is in active use or storage and therefore not available at the time a citizen asks to examine it, the custodian shall certify this fact in writing to the applicant and set a date and hour within three (3) working days at which time the record will be available for the exercise of the right given by this chapter.

(f) (1) No request to inspect, copy, or obtain copies of public records shall be denied on the ground that information exempt from disclosure is commingled with nonexempt information.

(2) Any reasonably segregable portion of a record shall be provided after deletion of the exempt information.

(3) The amount of information deleted shall be indicated on the released portion of the record and, if technically feasible, at the place in the record where the deletion was made.

(4) If it is necessary to separate exempt from nonexempt information in order to permit a citizen to inspect, copy, or obtain copies of public records, the custodian shall bear the cost of the separation.

(g) Any computer hardware or software acquired by an entity subject to 25-19-103(5)(A) after July 1, 2001, shall be in full compliance with the requirements of this section and shall not impede public access to records in electronic form.

(h) Notwithstanding any Arkansas law to the contrary, at the conclusion of any investigation conducted by a state agency in pursuit of civil penalties against the subject of the investigation, any settlement agreement entered into by a state agency shall be deemed a public document for the purposes of this chapter. However, the provisions of this subsection shall not apply to any investigation or settlement agreement involving any state tax covered by the Arkansas Tax Procedure Act, 26-18-101 et seq.

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