Alabama Public Records Laws


Code of Alabama, Title 41, Chapter 13 and
Code of Alabama, Title 36, Chapter 12, Article 3 (Section 36-12-40)

Exemptions to Disclosure

Exempted records include:

  • Records the disclosure of which presents potential security risks, or danger to public safety or welfare
  • Pending criminal investigations
  • Sensitive personnel records [e.g. personnel records with identifying information [§ 41-13-7]
  • Registration and circulation records in college and university libraries
  • Not just public safety but also “records the disclosure of which would otherwise be detrimental to the best interests of the public.” § 36-12-40.

Access Rights

  • Burden and expense of copying the writings and taking the copies must be borne by the citizen or his or her agent as provided by law . . . or as required by such reasonable safeguards as the custodian may impose
  • Policy in favor of access
  • Every citizen

Destruction of Public Records

  • § 41-13-5 – “insignificant” records can be destroyed, w/ authorization of Commission