Nevada, USA

Nevada Public Records Guide

Nevada Public Records Act

N.R.S. 239.010

Table of Contents

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

Overview

  • Applies to all three branches of government.
  • State agencies must designate a records custodian.
  • Privatization contracts are specifically designated as public records.

Nevada’s records law may apply to all branches of government, but it offers no clear administrative appeal option, severely hobbling the effectiveness of provisions dictating response time, etc.

All branches of government are covered.

The records law in Nevada covers all three government branches, as well as any subdivision of the state, like any quasi-municipal entities, schools, university foundations, and other bodies serving a governmental role.

Privatization contracts are definitely subject to the act.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t access contracts with a private entity. You can, and you should fight for that right.

Copyright is not grounds for denial.

The law specifically address copyrighted material. In some states, custodians rely on copyright to deny requests for manuals or other materials provided by private entities. That it is specifically addressed could be an important data point.

The Law

  • 5-day response time
  • Doesn’t distinguish the three branches from one another. Pertains to the public records of a governmental entity.
  • Residents and non-residents may submit requests.
  • Just because something is copyrighted doesn’t mean that it’s automatically exempt. N.R.S. 239.010(2)
  • Contracts related to contracting are definitely public. N.R.S. 239.0103
  • Which is all fine until you realize that there are just no appeal options. You can take it to court and you are offered attorney’s fees.

Supplemental

Definition of public records - N.R.S. 239.005

Court records

Meetings of State and Local Agencies - N.R.S. 241

Statewide record retention schedules

Local Records Retention Manual (2011)

Court Administrative Retention Schedule

The Details

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

Yes. Nevada law currently has no provision dictating a residency requirement.

To whom does this apply?

Executive?

Yes.

Judicial?

Yes.

Legislative?

Yes.

Is there a designated records custodian?

The law necessitates the appointment of an employee by the head of the agency to act as records official for the agency. Nothing is said about the necessity of local agencies to designate such a custodian.

Who is exempted?

No government agency is specifically exempted. In addition to the usual governmental suspects—the executive, legislative, and judicial branches—the act includes under the definition of “governmental entity” university foundations, educational foundations, and other units of government and political subdivisions not named. N.R.S. 239.005(5)(b)

How can requests be submitted?

In-person?

Yes, oral requests are permitted, though in-person requests aren’t specifically referenced and theoretically the records custodian could use the entitled number of days to respond to the request, meaning you might not be entitled to immediate inspection simply because you show up. N.R.S. 239.0107

Verbally?

Yes. Oral request are accepted N.R.S. 239.0107

By mail?

Yes, written requests are accepted.

By email?

Yes.

How long do they have to respond?

5 business days. By the end of the fifth business day, the agency must either let the requester see the record, provide him or her with a copy, provide him or her written notification of why the record is not yet available and a date and time when it will be, or provide the requester with written notification of why the record request is being denied, referencing the specific statute supporting the denial.

Are there provisions regarding the extension of response times?

The agency may state that additional time is needed and provide an estimated date of completion. If no response has been provided by that date, an additional inquiry is permitted.

“(c) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (d), if the governmental entity is unable to make the public book or record available by the end of the fifth business day after the date on which the person who has legal custody or control of the public book or record received the request, provide to the person, in writing: (1) Notice of that fact; and (2) A date and time after which the public book or record will be available for the person to inspect or copy or after which a copy of the public book or record will be available to the person. If the public book or record or the copy of the public book or record is not available to the person by that date and time, the person may inquire regarding the status of the request.” N.R.S. 239.0107

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

No and yes. While there is no specific mention of tracking numbers, the law does state that a date and time at which the records may be had must be provided.

Can they ask why you ask?

No, the purpose of the request doesn’t typically matter when a request is made. However, reporters, certain state government entities, and prospective employers do enjoy additional access to criminal history records. N.R.S. 179A.100(7)

What enforcement?

There are no administrative appeals options. However, you can take the matter to the district court in the county in which the request was filed. In court, if the request prevails, he or she is entitled to attorney’s fees. NRS 239.011

Fees?

Agencies can charge fees, but they must not exceed the actual costs to provide the record, and they can’t charge more than 50 cents per page. NRS 239.052

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

No, though a government agency reserves the right to waive fees as long as it adopts a policy to do so. NRS 239.052

Attorney’s fees - Can you win them?

Yes.

“If the requester prevails, the requester is entitled to recover his or her costs and reasonable attorney’s fees in the proceeding from the governmental entity whose officer has custody of the book or record.” NRS 239.011

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.

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

Yes. And if elements are exempt, non-exempt parts must be provided.

How much time do you have to appeal?

There is no specific time limit imposed for appealing a denial in the district court.

To whom does the appeal go?

There is no administrative appeal option provided. Court action may be taken at the district court in the county in which the request was made.

Can you appeal a delay?

Delay as a denial is not specifically addressed.

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

There is no administrative appeal option.

What if your appeal is denied?

There is no administrative appeal option provided. Court action may be taken at the district court in the county in which the request was made.

Where else can you turn?

Nowhere.

Are all appeals kept officially?

Court records cannot be destroyed out of keeping with the retention scheduled. There is no administrative appeal option, so there are no official appeals of that sort to keep.

Resources

Organizations

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

Attorneys and Law Firms

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

Successful appeals

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News Stories on Public Records Laws in the State

Submit a new link

Blogs and feeds primarily focused on public records in Nevada

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Public Records Guide and Advice

Newsletters

Big FOIA wins

Have a public records success story? Let us know!

Stats

Request Record
192 Filed
61 Completed
6 Rejected
30 No Responsive Documents
24 Awaiting Acknowledgement
23 Awaiting Response
16 Requiring Action
38 Overdue
Appeals
None
Allowed Response Time
5 days
Average Response Time
53 days
Success Rate
28.13%
Average Fee
$2810.41
9.38% of requests have a fee

Top Agencies See All

Agency Requests Pages Released
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 192 344
Department of Corrections 76 2,270
Nevada Department of Public Safety 37 338
Nevada Highway Patrol 35 70
Office of the Attorney General - Nevada 31 153
Division of Insurance 27 590
Reno Police Department 24 46
Department of Health and Human Services 22 60
City of North Las Vegas Police Department 20 62
Clark County Sheriff's Office 19 8

Top Localities See All

Jurisdiction Requests Pages Released
Las Vegas, NV 213 1,250
Reno, NV 29 211
Clark County, NV 22 8
North Las Vegas, NV 20 62
Henderson, NV 15 100
Nye County, NV 6 144
Lincoln County, NV 4 187
Winnemucca, NV 4 4
Carson City County, NV 3 0
Gardnerville, NV 3 6