Public Records Requests

Alabama’s Public Records Law (also commonly known as the Open Records Law) grants citizens of Alabama the right to inspect and copy “public writings” of the State.  Ala. Code § 36-12-40.  The Alabama Supreme Court defines public writings and public records as records which are “reasonably necessary to record the business and activities required to be done or carried on by a public officer so that the status and condition of such business and activities can be known by our citizens.”  Stone v. Consol. Pub. Co., 404 So. 2d 678, 681 (Ala. 1981).

Requestors should be aware that not all public records are subject to mandatory disclosure under the Public Records Law.  For example, the Alabama Supreme Court has held that “[r]ecorded information received by a public officer in confidence, sensitive personnel records, pending criminal investigations, and records the disclosure of which would be detrimental to the best interests of the public are some of the areas which may not be subject to public disclosure.” Stone, 404 So. 2d at 681.  In addition, “[d]raft documents, such as versions of proposed administrative rules and legislation, used internally by [a State agency], are not subject to disclosure under the Open Records Law. Draft documents shared externally, as well as internal and external correspondence, such as emails, on possible actions to be taken by [an agency], are also not subject to disclosure.”  Ala. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 2017-036 (June 20, 2017).

Requestors should also be aware that agencies may charge reasonable fees in connection with fulfilling requests for public records.  Ala. Code § 36-12-41; Ex parte Gill, 841 So. 2d 1231, 1233 (Ala. 2002).

All requests for public records requests in the Governor’s Office should be submitted using our official “Request to View Public Records” form. Submit it to us at the following address:

State of Alabama, Office of the Governor
600 Dexter Avenue, Room N-103
Montgomery, AL  36130
Fax: (334) 242-2335

Requests may also be sent by email:  openrecords@governor.alabama.gov

Once the completed form is received, the Governor’s Legal Office will analyze and determine whether the requested information is held by the Governor’s Office and subject to disclosure. Once this preliminary determination has been made, the requestor will be provided with an estimated research cost. The calculation of the costs and payment requirements are outlined on the form noted above.