State Public Records Law

Code of Alabama

Rights of citizens to inspect and copy public writings; Exceptions – Title 36, Chapter 12

Destruction/Preservation of state records – Title 41, Chapter 13, Article 21, Article 5

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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

Whistleblower Score

Rank: 49/51

Alabama has one of the weakest whistleblower laws in the country with narrow coverage (13 out of 33 possible points), limited usability (13 out of 33) and weak remedies (12 out of 33).

Read the full assessment here»


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