Kentucky Open Records Act
The Kentucky Open Records Act of 1992 made access to government records a legal right with statues KRS 61.870 to 61.884. The statutes define the parameters of the law.
The official purpose of Kentucky's open records laws is this, "The General Assembly finds and declares...that free and open examination of public records is in the public interest and the exceptions provided for by KRS 61.878 or otherwise provided by law shall be strictly construed, even though such examination may cause inconvenience or embarrassment to public officials or others."
How to Submit an Open-Records Request
Under the Kentucky Open Records Act any person/organization can obtain detailed, factual information from any city/county/state office or agency. The following procedure should be used:
- Determine the office where the information you need is held. (A few calls to various offices maybe required.) Call the office and ask for the information.
- Once you are put in touch with the person having authority over said information, they will most likely ask you for a written request of via the open records act. Ask if you can send it by email to them directly. 90% of the time they will allow this since you have discussed it on the phone already. In any event, a written letter addressed to the proper office sent via certified mail (always send it certified and keep the signature receipt).
- Most government bodies will have their own customized form for you to complete the request.
- Be sure to ask for the specific format you want. You have the right to receive the document in any format it exists in. Electronic formats are especially helpful as they are searchable and easily shared.
- The law states they have 3 working days to respond to you directly (by phone,email, letter).
- Depending on the volume of information requested; short length responses are usually free, but information that is many pages in length usually will have a copying fee (no more than 10 cents/page by state law)
- Your local offices are required to simply allow you to view the information first, then copy it for you if you request it.
- If your request is not responded to in 3 working days, or they charge more than 10 cents/page copying fee, then you have the option of turning them into the Ky. State Attorney General's Office:(1-502-696-5300 Amye Bensenhaver). Be sure to have documented evidence of the date of your initial request, (i.e. certified signature of receipt card for a written request or a copy of your emailed request mentioning your initial request by phone).
- Most people in state government are helpful with these requests, as they are well aware of the law in this matter.
This Open Records Act also applies to school district issues.
Remember to keep requests brief and to the point. One paragraph will do. Use the term; "I am requesting the following information via the Kentucky Open Records Act", or something similar in sentence structure.
REMEMBER: It's your government, so don't be afraid to call and ask for information from your employees.
Links to the statutes
Open Records Tips
- Tip #1: Know the law
- Tip #2: Be specific
- Tip #3: Know who to contact
- Tip #4: Three days!
- Tip #5: Be organized, keep records
- Tip #6: Be polite
- Example open records request
- 2011 Open Records Project
- Kentucky Open Records Requests
- FreedomKentucky Database - A searchable database of records request financial data from cities, school districts, and state agencies in Kentucky.
- 2010 Open Records Project