Arizona

State Whistleblower Score

Score: 60/100 points

Rank: 20/51 states

Arizona has a relatively strong whistleblower law with moderately broad coverage (19 out of 33 possible points, limited usability (15 out of 33) and strong remedies (26 out of 33). 

Read the full assessment here»

 

State Public Records Law

Arizona Revised Statutes

Arizona Revised Statutes Title 39, Chapter 1 (ARS 39-101 – 39-221) and Arizona Revised Statutes § 15-1640

Read the full text

Exemptions to Disclosure

39-125 states that public records can be withheld if they disclose the location of an archeological resource or historic place (or areas/objects that may qualify for inclusion) if such disclosure will subject such place/object at risk.

If state can show interests in confidentiality, privacy, or best interests of the state outweigh public’s right of inspection under Public Records Law, State can properly refuse inspection (state bears burden of proof). [Scottsdale Unified School Dist. No. 48 of Maricopa County v. KPNX Broadcasting Co., 191 Ariz. 297, 955 P.2d 534 (1998)]

AZ Rev Stat § 15-1640 states that University records are exempt from disclosure if: “1. Intellectual property that is a trade secret as defined in section 44-401 and that is contained in any of the following:

  • (a) Unfunded grant applications or proposals
  • (b) Proprietary data or research material provided to a university by a third party who has an expectation that the data or material will remain confidential. In order to qualify for the exemption prescribed in this subdivision, the intellectual property must be provided to the university pursuant to a contract executed between the third party and the university that meets all of the following requirements:
    • (i) The contract specifies that the intellectual property is being provided to the university and that there is a need for confidentiality.
    • (ii) The contract is approved before the contract becomes effective by an official of the university who is authorized to sign research contracts.
    • (iii) The contract includes the name or names of the third party, a general description of the research or other work that is the subject of the contract in a manner sufficient to provide the public with the information necessary to understand the nature of that research or other work and a statement that the intellectual property that is the subject of the contract will be conveyed by the third party to the university pursuant to the terms of the contract.
    • (iv) The contract will become a public document that is subject to title 39, chapter 1, article 2 when the contract is executed.
  • (c) Proprietary data or research material that is developed by persons employed by a university, if the disclosure of this data or material would be contrary to the best interests of this state.

Access Rights

  • Any person
  • Can get copies of records during office hours
  • If request, get list of records withheld and reason withheld
  • If custodian doesn’t have facilities for copying, requestor shall be granted access to the records to copy them, print them, or photograph them
  • Access is deemed denied absent prompt response to request
  • Requesting party can ask trial court to perform an in-camera inspection of govt-withheld docs generated or maintained on govt-owned computer system on grounds of docs being personal, to determine whether the docs fall w/in public records law [Griffis v. Pinal County, 215 Ariz. 1, 156 P.3d 418 (2007)]
  • Legal presumption favoring disclosure – burden on State to show interests in confidentiality, privacy, or best interests of the State outweigh public’s right of inspection under Public Records Law
  • Free searches for copies of public records to be used in claims against the U.S.
  • Unless State puts forward interest justifying nondisclosure, person seeking access need not demonstrate purpose access would serve. [A.H. Belo Corp. v. Mesa Police Dept. (App. Div.1 2002) 202 Ariz. 184, 42 P.3d 615, review denied.]
  • Availability of info in record by alternative means doesn’t justify withholding access

Destruction of Public Records

  • “All records made or received by public officials or employees of this state or the counties and incorporated cities and towns of this state in the course of their public duties are the property of the state.” A.R.S. § 41-151.15(A).
  • Each public body and officer is responsible for preserving, maintaining, and caring for the public records within their offices. A.R.S. § 39-121.01(C).
  • Each officer and public body is required by statute to carefully secure, protect, and preserve public records from deterioration, mutilation, loss, or destruction, unless the records are disposed of pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 41-151.15 and 151.19.
  • § 41-151.15 states that records shall not be destroyed or otherwise disposed of by any agency unless it is determined by the state library that the record has no further administrative, legal, fiscal, research or historical value. A person who destroys or otherwise disposes of records without the specific authority of the state library is in violation of section 38-421.
  • § 41-151.19 states that every public officer who has public records in the public officer’s custody shall consult periodically with the state library and the state library shall determine whether the records in question are of legal, administrative, historical or other value. Those records determined to be of legal, administrative, historical or other value shall be preserved. Those records determined to be of no legal, administrative, historical or other value shall be disposed of by such method as the state library may specify. A report of records destruction that includes a list of all records disposed of shall be filed at least annually with the state library on a form prescribed by the state library.

Arizona News

Ben Lomeli: Standing Up for Scientific Integrity

Ben called on PEER to assist his efforts to save Arizona’s San Pedro River from excessive groundwater withdrawals.

Matt Chew: Free Speech With A Price

Matt was an Arizona States Parks employee who was fired when he brought attention to the resource conservation ...

Grand Canyon Transforming into Game Farm for Hybrid Bison

“Skilled Volunteers” to “Lethally Remove” Marooned Cattalos on Parks North Rim

Documents Link Coke to Grand Canyon Plastic Bottle Reversal

Secret Decision to Block Single-Use Bottle Bans throughout National Park System

Things Don’t Always Go Better With Coke

Did Corporate Donation Sway Reversal of Grand Canyon Plastic Water Bottle Ban?

Park Service Indian Trading Post Fiasco Finally Unearthed

Inspector General Sat on Scathing Report to Limit Government Officials’ Liability

Cutbacks Cripple Arizona Air Pollution Enforcement

Despite Looming EPA Sanctions, County Signals Corporate Kid Glove Treatment

Overstressed AZ Border Refuge Invites in Off-Road Vehicles

No Field Damage Monitoring as Refuge Fired Volunteers for Expressing Concerns

Forest Off-Road Vehicle Plans at Crossroads in the Southwest

Status of Million of Acres at Stake; Wide Variation in Emerging ORV Forest Plans

Feds Warn Arizona on Park Closures

Shuttering Parks Purchased with Federal Dollars Jeopardizes Future Federal Aid

Arizona Cougar Shooting Plan Misguided

Need For and Effects of Wiping Out Desert-Adapted Cougars Not Understood

The Last Indian Trader Ruined by Park Service Incompetence

Lawsuit Filed to Unearth Suppressed IG Report into Agency Misconduct

Bighorns Shun Desert Water Tanks

Controversial Artificial Impoundments Failing Their Purpose

Forest Service ORV Plan Near Grand Canyon Halted

ORV Access for Hunter Removals of Carcasses Dealt Setback with Ruling

Grand Canyon Threatened by Off-Road Vehicle Plan

Groups Protest ORV Penetration into Habitat and Across Archaeological Sites

Kofa Cougars Get Very Short Stay of Execution

Arizona Game Agency to Shoot GPS-Collared Mountain Lions on National Refuge

Grand Canyon Flow Fight Bursts Into the Open

Early Test for Interior Secretary Salazar Pledges of Ethics and Scientific Integrity

Drilling and Mining in Store for Two Iconic Southwest Parks

Falling Commodity Prices Brings Brief Reprieve for Petrified Forest and Aztec Ruins

Interior Stifles Grand Canyon Park Call for More River Surges

Colorado River to Be Managed for Maximum Power Generation Not Wildlife Benefit

Fight to Re-Classify Pygmy Owl as Endangered

Conservationists Take First Step to Re-establish Protections for the Pygmy Owl

Off-Roaders Booted From Arizona Monument Due to Abuses

Section of Sonoran Desert National Monument Off-Limits to ORVs for Two-Years

ARIZONA GAME AGENCY SCAPEGOATS COUGARS FOR BIGHORN TRAVAILS

Agency Engages in “Biological McCarthyism” by Targeting Puma as Bighorn Gain

ARIZONA’S KOFA REFUGE COUGARS GET ONE-YEAR REPRIEVE

Government Halts “Lethal Removal” of Refuge Puma after PEER Intervention

WILDERNESS WATER WAR IN ARIZONA REFUGE OVER BIGHORNS

Former Long-Time Kofa Wildlife Refuge Biologist Says His Agency Is All Wet

INTERIOR DEPARTMENT STAGES GRAND CANYON GREEN WASH

Exclusive Footage Offered to NBC “Today” Show to Profile High Flow Experiment

ONE-TIME FLUSH OF GRAND CANYON SPARKS HIGH-LEVEL FRACAS

Park Service Environmental Objections Quashed to Cement 5-Year Power Deal

OFF-ROAD ABUSE TEARING UP NATIONAL MONUMENT IN ARIZONA

Sonoran Desert National Monument Overwhelmed by Off-Road Traffic and Impacts

OFF-ROADING BECOMING MONSTROUS LAW ENFORCEMENT HEADACHE

Off-Road Crime Outstripping All Other Violations Combined on Public Lands

RANGERS CALL OFF-ROAD VEHICLES BIGGEST THREAT TO PUBLIC LANDS

“Rangers for Responsible Recreation” Launched to Combat “Wreck-reation”

ARMY LOOKING AT BIG EXPANSION OF ARIZONA TRAINING GROUNDS

Half Million Acres of Public Land May Be Put Off-Limits

EVOLVING GRAND CANYON POSITION LEAVES UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

National Park Service Now Distancing Itself from Creationist Book It Approved

HOW OLD IS THE GRAND CANYON? PARK SERVICE WONT SAY

Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

AGENCY RESISTANCE THREATENS TO WIPE OUT DESERT FISH

State Push for Nonnative Game Fish Undercuts Federal Recovery Plans

MOUNTAIN LION ERADICATION WITHOUT PRIOR STUDY RAPPED

Park Service at Lake Mead Accedes to “Shoot First” Intervention of Arizona

REFUGE MANAGER CHARGED FOR SAVING THREATENED FROGS

First Case of Refuge Manager Facing Criminal Charges for Wildlife Offense

GILA NATIVE FISH SINKING FAST

Recovery Plans Not Being Implemented

WHISTLEBLOWER SETTLEMENT AT LUKE AFB

Environmental Issues Still Being Litigated

Unclear on the Concept

Arizona Historic Officer Defaces Historic Site

INTERIOR TO OPEN PARK TO NATIVE AMERICAN HUNTING

Babbitt Orders Post-Election Special Rule for Arizona Park

AIR FORCE DRIVING PRONGHORN TO EXTINCTION

Former Supervising AF Biologist Gives Critical Testimony

HUSH MONEY OFFERED TO STATE PARKS WORKER

$10,000 to Keep Silent in Secret Agreement

State Parks Employee Fired for Writing Newspaper Article

First Amendment Challenge Mounted

AIR FORCE WHISTLEBLOWER FILES SUIT

Fired After Raising Problems at Goldwater Range
Phone: 202-265-7337

962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 610
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4453

Copyright 2001–2023 Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility

PEER is a 501(c)(3) organization
EIN: 93-1102740