According to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, anyone may request public records without a statement of purpose. There are fees for commercial use of records. Here is a template for requesting public records in Oklahoma in compliance with the Open Records Act.
Name of State Act:
Open Records Act
If protected by state evidentiary privilege; real estate appraisals; personnel records; registration files of sex offenders; public officials' personnel notes; business-related bids; computer programs; medical market research; and certain educational records including student records
Fees for requests with commercial purposes
We have curated some of the most commonly asked questions for you.
How do I obtain open records in Oklahoma?
Pursuant to Oklahoma Statutes Title 51, subsections 24A. 1-29, the public policy of the State of Oklahoma is the public has the right of access to and review of government records so they may efficiently and intelligently exercise their inherent political power. These records are open to the public for inspection and copying, with certain applicable fees. Not all records are open, however. Records that are not open are generally personnel and investigatory files; however, this list is not exclusive.
What is a public body?
The first step in determining whether a duty exists to disclose information under the ORA is to ask whether the entity is a public body. Under the definition provided by the ORA at Section 24A.3(2), a public body may take various forms ranging from an agency or commission to a task force or even a study group. The central issue for determining whether an entity is a public body is to determine whether the entity is “supported in whole or in part by public funds or entrusted with the expenditure of public funds or administering or operating public property . . . .” 51 O.S.2011, § 24A.3(2) (emphasis added). However, merely doing business with the State is not ordinarily considered sufficient to turn a private entity into a public body.
What is a public record?
If the entity does fit the description of a public body, the second important question is whether the information sought is a public record. Again, a record may take many forms, from specific paper documents, electronic communications or photographic materials to video or other types of film or sound recordings. To rise to the level of a public record, the information sought must have been “created by, received by, under the authority of, or coming into the custody, control or possession of public officials, public bodies, or their representatives . . . .” Id. § 24A.3(1). The statute requires all public bodies and officials to keep and maintain all business and financial transactions conducted by a public body. See 51 O.S.2011, § 24A.4. The issue of custody or control of a record has also been addressed in Section 24A.20, which provides, “[a]ccess to records which, under the Oklahoma Open Records Act, would otherwise be available for public inspection and copying, shall not be denied because a public body or public official is using or has taken possession of such records for investigatory purposes or has placed the records in a litigation or investigation file.” So, even if a public body has transferred possession of its records, it is still deemed to be in “control and possession” of the records for ORA disclosure purposes. See Saxon v. Macy, 795 P.2d 101 (Okla. 1990).
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