Arkansas, USA

Arkansas Public Records Guide

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Ark. Code Ann. § § 25-19-101 to 25-19-109

Passed in 1967, Amended 2009

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Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. The Law
  3. Resources
  4. Stats


  • <span class="jurisdiction__point__symbol green">+</span> <span class="jurisdiction__point__text">Law applies broadly, with strict three-day response window, restrictions on fees, and with strong penalties including jail time</span>
  • <span class="jurisdiction__point__symbol red">–</span> <span class="jurisdiction__point__text">Citizenship requirement overturned in 2006 is now back in place</span>
  • <span class="jurisdiction__point__symbol red">–</span> <span class="jurisdiction__point__text">Law can be overly vague to the point lawmakers aren’t clear on what’s exempt</span>
  • The Law

    • 3-day response time
    • Applies broadly to all “public bodies” including executive, judicial, and the legislature.
    • Agencies may only charge “actual cost” copying fees
    • Non-residents may not submit requests, as of 2013 Supreme Court ruling


    Definition of public records – [Ark. Code§ § 25-19-105 ]

    Open Public Meetings Act - [Ark. Code§ 25-19-106 ]

    The Details

    Can you submit a request if you’re not a resident?

    No – following McBurney v. Young, Arkansas resumed denying requests based on Arkansas citizenship

    To whom does this apply?




    Yes, with some exceptions outlined in the act.



    Is there a designated records custodian?


    Who is exempted?

    An organization that could reasonably be argued does not construe a “public body.”

    How can requests be submitted?





    By mail?


    By email?


    How long do they have to respond?

    3 Days.

    (e) If a public record is in active use or storage and therefore not available at the time a citizen asks to examine it, the custodian shall certify this fact in writing to the applicant and set a date and hour within three (3) working days at which time the record will be available for the exercise of the right given by this chapter.

    Are there provisions regarding the extension of response times?

    There is currently no provision dictating how agencies may extend time.

    Does the agency have to give you a tracking number or estimated date of completion?

    No and no. Nothing in the law specifically says that such things are necessary.

    Can they ask why you ask?

    No. Nowhere in the law does it say that a records custodian can demand to know the reason for the request. However, records custodians are encouraged to release materials in the public interest.

    What enforcement?

    The Attorney General

    The State Supreme Court case of Bryant v. Weiss (1998), in which the state’s top law enforcer was regarded as a citizen entitled to employ the FOIA, affirmed this opinion. Therefore, the State Attorney General may file a request that had been denied to another citizen and, if the request is once again denied, then he/she may bring civil action under the FOIA in place of the original requester.


    Yes, but strictly for reproduction costs.

    The public body may establish fees reasonably calculated to reimburse it for its actual cost in making reproductions of records. A public body may not charge a search or retrieval fee or otherwise seek reimbursement based on a man-hour basis as part of costs associated with making reproduction of records. §29B-1-3

    Are there fee waivers for media requests or those made in the public interest?


    Attorney’s fees - Can you win them?


    (B) A claim for reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation expenses reasonably incurred in an action against the State of Arkansas or a department, agency, or institution of the state shall be filed with the commission pursuant to 19-10-201 et seq. within sixty (60) days of the final disposition of the appeal under subsection (a) of this section.

    Exemptions and Appeals

    What exemptions exist?

    There is a presumption that all records are public. However, statutes and court cases have combined to create specific exempted categories. (See below for more specific applications.)

    Do they have to tell you why a portion or pages were redacted or withheld?


    How much time do you have to appeal?

    Appeal must immediately follow denial, with court proceedings occurring within seven days

    To whom does the appeal go?

    (a) Any citizen denied the rights granted to him or her by this chapter may appeal immediately from the denial to the Pulaski County Circuit Court or to the circuit court of the residence of the aggrieved party, if the State of Arkansas or a department, agency, or institution of the state is involved, or to any of the circuit courts of the appropriate judicial districts when an agency of a county, municipality, township, or school district, or a private organization supported by or expending public funds, is involved.

    However, if the requester desired to be represented by the AG, they have to request it be re-filed on their behalf.

    Can you appeal a delay?


    Do agencies have to tell you where to send your appeal?


    What if your appeal is denied?

    Appeals are legal proceedings and therefore final.

    Where else can you turn?

    AG’s office – see above.

    Are all appeals kept officially?

    Yes, at the AG’s homepage



    The following organizations offer resources for those seeking public records in Massachusetts.

    Attorneys and Law Firms

    The following attorneys and law firms have practiced public records law. Names marked with an asterik have indicated a willingness to offer pro bono services on a case by case basis.

    Successful appeals

    List of FOI Opinions

    News Stories on Public Records Laws in the State

    Submit a new link

    Blogs and feeds primarily focused on public records in Arkansas

    Public Records Guide and Advice


    Big FOIA wins

    Have a public records success story? Let us know!


    Request Record
    83 Filed
    12 Completed
    26 Rejected
    7 No Responsive Documents
    17 Awaiting Acknowledgement
    4 Awaiting Response
    10 Requiring Action
    21 Overdue
    Allowed Response Time
    3 days
    Average Response Time
    20 days
    Success Rate
    Average Fee
    1.20% of requests have a fee

    Top Agencies See All

    Agency Requests Pages Released
    Department of Correction 19 32
    University of Arkansas 17 18
    Arkansas State Police 13 0
    Department of Career Education, Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) 11 101
    Yell County Sheriff's Department 7 9
    Arkansas Department of Human Services 6 0
    Office of the Attorney General 5 3
    Arkansas Parole Board 5 1
    Office of the Governor 5 5
    Department of Finance and Administration 4 4

    Top Localities See All

    Jurisdiction Requests Pages Released
    Springdale, AR 3 0
    North Little Rock, AR 3 0
    Little Rock, AR 3 0
    Fulton County, AR 2 2
    Hot Springs, AR 2 0
    Bentonville, AR 2 0
    Faulkner County, AR 2 0
    Fayetteville, AR 1 0
    Horatio, AR 0 0
    Rector, AR 0 0