Oklahoma Open Records Act Reference Page
The Oklahoma Open Records Act can be found in Title 51 § 24A.1 through § 24A.30.
The best sections for quotes about the purpose and breadth of the ORA are the following:
§ 24A.2. Political Power – Public Policy and Purpose of Act
The sections that you will refer to most often are the following:
§ 24A.3. Definitions
§ 24A.4. Duty to Keep and Maintain Complete Records of Receipt and Expenditure of Funds
§ 24A.5. Open and Confidential Records
§ 24A.6. Written Notice of Business Hours of Public Bodies – Inspection, Copying, or Reproduction of Records of Public Body
§ 24A.7. Confidential Personnel Records of Public Body
§ 24A.8. Law Enforcement Agency Records Available for Public Inspection
§ 24A.10. Disclosure of Information Voluntarily Supplied
§ 24A.12. Confidential Litigation Files and Investigatory Reports
§ 24A.18. Additional Recordkeeping Requirements on Public Bodies or Public Officials not Imposed
§ 24A.20. Access to Records in Possession of Public Body or Official for Investigatory Purposes
§ 24A.5. Open and Confidential Records
“6. A public body must provide prompt, reasonable access to its records but may establish reasonable procedures which protect the integrity and organization of its records and to prevent excessive disruptions of its essential functions. A delay in providing access to records shall be limited solely to the time required for preparing the requested documents and the avoidance of excessive disruptions of the public body’s essential functions. In no event may production of a current request for records be unreasonably delayed until after completion of a prior records request that will take substantially longer than the current request. Any public body which makes the requested records available on the Internet shall meet the obligation of providing prompt, reasonable access to its records as required by this paragraph;”
Also see OAG Opinion No. 99-58 below.
The punishment for violations:
§ 24A.17. Violations of Oklahoma Open Records Act – Civil Liability
“Facts concerning the arrest” includes audio recordings of DPS hearings. Fabian v. DPS.
Dashcam case. “Facts concerning the arrest” includes video recordings of the actual arrest. Ward & Lee v. Claremore.
Must provide governments records, not purported copies from a third party. Ward & Lee v. Claremore II.
There is no provision in the Open Records Act which allows a court to balance an individual’s interest in having records remain private and the public’s interest in having access to the records. Nichols.
Arrest is defined broadly. Right to inspect includes right to copy. ORA is to be construed broadly and in favor of openness. OAB v. Norman “Mixon Case”.
Unless a record falls within a statutorily prescribed exemption in the Open Records Act, the record must be made available for public inspection. In ruling on a request for disclosure under the Open Records Act, the public body and the reviewing court must consider that, pursuant to the intent of the Act, disclosure of the information is to be favored over a finding of exemption. Progressive.
Requests for information from the Department of Corrections (DOC) under the Open Records Act did not have to be submitted on an inmate-by-inmate basis. DOC.
Deliberative process privilege and exemption to it. Fallin.
Unless a record falls within a statutorily prescribed exemption in the Open Records Act, the record must be made available for public inspection; the public body urging an exemption has the burden to establish the applicability of such exemption. Citizens Against Taxpayer Abuse.
Personnel records. May v shall/discretionary release. CI Agreement cannot trump state law. Ross v. Owasso.
Traffic collision reports. May v. shall for LE records. Cummings v. OKC.
DAs Records Saxon v. Macy.
OHP Operations Manual – World Publishing.
Attorney Generals Opinions
Private entities supported in whole or in part by public funds. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 2017-18
Audio recordings of court proceedings filed with or maintained by court clerks are public records and are subject to disclosure under the Oklahoma Open Records Act unless they are properly sealed by court order or specifically exempt from disclosure by law. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 2014-01
Law enforcement agencies must provide electronic copies of mug shots if: 1) the agency keeps the mug shots in electronic format, and 2) the requestor specifically requests the mug shots in electronic format. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 2012-22
A public body may keep confidential a record indicating the name of an employee who has been placed on administrative leave with pay if, under the personnel policies of the public body, the action constitutes neither a “final” or “disciplinary” action, nor a “final disciplinary action resulting in loss of pay, suspension, demotion of position, or termination.”. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 09-33
The Open Records Act is to be construed broadly and applies generally to court clerks and other county officials. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 09-27
E-mails, text messages, and other electronic communications made or received in connection with the transaction of public business, the expenditure of public funds or the administration of public property, are subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act, 51 Okl.St.Ann. §§ 24A.1 – 24A.29, and the Records Management Act, 67 Okl.St.Ann. §§ 201 – 215, regardless of whether they are created, received, transmitted, or maintained by government officials on publicly or privately owned equipment and communication devices, unless some provision of law makes them confidential. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 09-12
Legislature emails are subject to the ORA once they are sent to a third party who is subject to the ORA, even though Legislators are exempted from the definition of a public body. 2008 OK AG 19
What is the appropriate amount that county clerks may charge for furnishing an electronic copy (or digital image) of an instrument(s) that is recorded with the clerk and regularly kept by the clerk in a computer-readable format? Op.Atty.Gen. No. 05-21
A public body that contracts with a private vendor to provide electronic access to and reproduction of public body’s records at another location or through world wide web is still required to provide access to records for inspection, copying, or mechanical reproduction at public body’s office. If the public body has more than one office location, records must be maintained and made available to the public at an office where records are located in the ordinary course of business. Open Records Act does not prohibit a public body from contracting with a private vendor for record storage or for converting records to an approved electronic format; public body may use vendor to store records off-site, but when a person requests records, records must be retrieved from storage site and provided to requester at the public body’s office. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 05-3
Electronic mail connected with the transaction of official business, the expenditure of public funds or the administration of public property and created by or received by a state public body or a public body of a political subdivision constitutes a record and is subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 01-46
Prompt reasonable access. Cannot delay. Op.Atty.Gen. No.99-58
It is, therefore, the official opinion of the Attorney General that the jail register, police blotter and recorded electronic transactions with the police department are in general subject to the provisions of the Open Records Act. Op.Atty.Gen. No.84-119
Records used for internal detection and investigation of crimes are not public in nature; however, administrative records are within the purview of 51 O.S. 24 (1971) and open to public inspection. Whether a record is public in nature is a question of fact that can only be determined from the type and purpose of the record maintained its use, and the statutes, ordinances, and policies pertaining to the individual law enforcement entity maintaining the record in question. Op.Atty.Gen. No. 79-172.