Average Response Time

Governments fulfilling requests for public records have a reputation for being slow, but how slow can vary widely based on state, agency, and the complexity of the request. Below is the average number of days for agencies to complete requests, updated in real time based on requests filed and tracked through MuckRock. Note that these are mean averages — a few outliers can make a big difference in states with fewer requests. States in green are the fastest at under 30 days; agencies in yellow respond, on average, within 30 to 60 days; and red agencies take more than 60 days to respond.

 
 
 
 
 
244
USA
 
 
 
 
 
101
AK
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
69
ME
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
45
VT
111
NH
100
WA
37
ID
100
MT
48
ND
91
MN
 
67
MI
 
130
NY
89
MA
25
RI
97
OR
77
UT
67
WY
84
SD
71
IA
106
WI
94
IN
73
OH
74
PA
82
NJ
86
CT
86
CA
94
NV
54
CO
38
NE
77
MO
49
IL
55
KY
84
WV
63
VA
76
MD
73
DE
 
121
AZ
122
NM
73
KS
95
AR
77
TN
116
NC
90
SC
164
DC
 
 
 
 
 
173
OK
110
LA
153
MS
140
AL
71
GA
 
 
 
111
HI
 
 
71
TX
 
 
 
 
81
FL
 
 

Is there a fixed time in which the agency needs to respond?

Most states specify a number of days that its governments have to respond to a public records request. While these deadlines are often missed, this element of the law is useful for reminding agencies that a legal clock is ticking. Some states interpret these deadlines as the deadline for an initial response, while others use it as a deadline for a final response, often with the ability to extend the deadline for complex requests.

 
 
 
 
 
USA
 
 
 
 
 
AK
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ME
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VT
NH
WA
ID
MT
ND
MN
 
MI
 
NY
MA
RI
OR
UT
WY
SD
IA
WI
IN
OH
PA
NJ
CT
CA
NV
CO
NE
MO
IL
KY
WV
VA
MD
DE
 
AZ
NM
KS
AR
TN
NC
SC
DC
 
 
 
 
 
OK
LA
MS
AL
GA
 
 
 
HI
 
 
TX
 
 
 
 
FL
 
 

Do public record laws apply to the executive branch?

In almost every state, public records laws apply to the governor's office, although many states offer special carve outs for the executive. At the federal level, while the White House is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, (FOIA) it is subject to the Presidential Records Act, which allows disclosure of some records five years after the president leaves office.

 
 
 
 
 
USA
 
 
 
 
 
AK
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ME
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VT
NH
WA
ID
MT
ND
MN
 
MI
 
NY
MA
RI
OR
UT
WY
SD
IA
WI
IN
OH
PA
NJ
CT
CA
NV
CO
NE
MO
IL
KY
WV
VA
MD
DE
 
AZ
NM
KS
AR
TN
NC
SC
DC
 
 
 
 
 
OK
LA
MS
AL
GA
 
 
 
HI
 
 
TX
 
 
 
 
FL
 
 

Do public record laws apply to the legislative branch?

While many states offer some access to legislative records, that can vary widely. In some cases, only administrative records are subject to disclosure, while other states allow broad access to communications with constituents and other records.

 
 
 
 
 
USA
 
 
 
 
 
AK
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ME
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VT
NH
WA
ID
MT
ND
MN
 
MI
 
NY
MA
RI
OR
UT
WY
SD
IA
WI
IN
OH
PA
NJ
CT
CA
NV
CO
NE
MO
IL
KY
WV
VA
MD
DE
 
AZ
NM
KS
AR
TN
NC
SC
DC
 
 
 
 
 
OK
LA
MS
AL
GA
 
 
 
HI
 
 
TX
 
 
 
 
FL
 
 

Which states allow blocking out-of-state requestors?

Citing the Supreme Court precedent McBurney v. Young, a number of states can block requests from out of staters. Many agencies in these states do continue to process requests from non-residents. The citizenship requirement can be an additional barrier to access, even for resident requesters who might prefer to maintain their privacy or who don't have access to identification.

 
 
 
 
 
USA
 
 
 
 
 
AK
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ME
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VT
NH
WA
ID
MT
ND
MN
 
MI
 
NY
MA
RI
OR
UT
WY
SD
IA
WI
IN
OH
PA
NJ
CT
CA
NV
CO
NE
MO
IL
KY
WV
VA
MD
DE
 
AZ
NM
KS
AR
TN
NC
SC
DC
 
 
 
 
 
OK
LA
MS
AL
GA
 
 
 
HI
 
 
TX
 
 
 
 
FL
 
 

Do public records laws apply to the judiciary?

Often courts are exempt from traditional public records laws, and instead provide access to legal filings and other judicial records via their own access rules and systems. Even in those states where the judiciary is subject to public records requests, there are often wide exemptions for judges' own records .

 
 
 
 
 
USA
 
 
 
 
 
AK
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ME
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VT
NH
WA
ID
MT
ND
MN
 
MI
 
NY
MA
RI
OR
UT
WY
SD
IA
WI
IN
OH
PA
NJ
CT
CA
NV
CO
NE
MO
IL
KY
WV
VA
MD
DE
 
AZ
NM
KS
AR
TN
NC
SC
DC
 
 
 
 
 
OK
LA
MS
AL
GA
 
 
 
HI
 
 
TX
 
 
 
 
FL
 
 

How many exemptions are in MuckRock's database for each jurisdiction?

MuckRock has a growing database of public records exemptions, details on how they should and should not be applied, and sample language to craft an appeal. This database is not comprehensive. A jurisdiction may have more exemptions than are actually written into law.

 
 
 
 
 
19
 
 
 
 
 
3
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3
3
2
3
3
3
3
 
3
 
3
13
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
6
3
3
3
3
3
8
10
3
3
3
6
 
5
3
3
3
3
3
3
0
 
 
 
 
 
3
3
3
3
4
 
 
 
13
 
 
3
 
 
 
 
4
 
 

Michael Andre, Gurman Bhatia, JPat Brown, Jabril Faraj, Maddy Kennedy, Mitchell Kotler, Beryl Lipton, Edgar Mendez, Michael Morisy, Devi Shastri, Theresa Soley, Miranda Spivack, and Curtis Waltman contributed to the research, fact checking, design and implementation of this database. For any updates, additions or corrections, please send an email to info@muckrock.com. It was funded in part by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, Marquette’s O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism, and the Arnold Foundation.