Public Records Request
Arizona Public Records Laws provide public access to most records created or kept by state and local government agencies. However, these laws generally do not require public agencies to perform research or analyze data on someone’s behalf, answer questions posed, or to create new records in response to a request. While the term “FOIA” is often used interchangeably in reference to requests for public records, the Freedom Of Information Act is a distinct set of federal laws governing federal agency records; whereas Arizona Public Records Laws govern state and local government agency records.
To request public records, first see if the desired record is already publicly available, online or elsewhere. If it is not, a record can be requested by contacting the agency that maintains that record. While the use of a particular request form is not required, many agencies utilize request forms to obtain the specific information needed to locate and provide the desired record. Please be as specific as possible by directing your request to the appropriate agency and by providing the name or a description of the record and/or its contents. It is also helpful if the request specifies whether you want copies (paper or electronic may be available) or you want to view the records in-person during normal business hours. Requests can be submitted as available via online form, email, mail, fax, or in-person. If the initial request lacks sufficient specificity and clarity to be processed, the agency will typically respond by asking for additional information. Only records that actually exist, and are in the possession of that agency at the time of request can be provided.
Records requests are generally processed in the order they are received. The time for an agency to respond to your request can vary, depending on: type, complexity and volume of requested records; the necessity for legal review; volume of other requests already being processed by the agency; and the limits of available staff, equipment and resources. For requests involving complex or a very large volume of records, the agency may respond asking whether the scope of the request can be limited.
Some records, or portions thereof are not subject to public disclosure and must be withheld. For example: HIPAA; personally identifying information such as dates of birth, SSNs, home addresses, private phone numbers or email addresses; information relating to the identities and safety of protected persons, such as crime victims. Additionally, some records or information may be temporarily withheld based on the State’s best interest, such as when it is necessary to avoid jeopardizing the outcome or integrity of an active investigation. Subpoenas and court orders for records are not necessarily PRRs, but rather are subject to distinct laws or rules governing production of those records. Please be aware, agencies may assess a record production fee prior to the record’s release.