Michael Morisy

In some states, you have to be a resident to file a public records request in that state. Which states are included in this list, and are there any workarounds?

Jasper Craven

There are currently nine states in which FOIA requests must be made by residents. The states are:

The above links contain additional resources on each of these states’ laws, MuckRock’s effectiveness in these states, and organizations focused on public transparency in those states. MuckRock has a network of proxy filers to help with issues of standing in the above-mentioned jurisdictions.

*This jurisdiction’s limitations on citizen requesters is unclear. If you have more information or examples, please let us know at info@muckrock.com.

Thanks to Rebecca Williams for pointing out Missouri, which we missed originally!

Shawn Musgrave

Re: Alabama. 

The RCFP OGG for Alabama reads:

“By the express terms of the Alabama Public Records Law, the right to inspect and take a copy of public writings of the State of Alabama inures to the benefit of every citizen. See Scott v. Culpepper, 220 Ala. 393, 393-94, 125 So. 643, 644 (1930) (The law “gives every citizen a right to inspect and take a copy” of public records.). Although the statute does not contain a definition of the term “citizen,” that term probably indicates that the statute was intended to apply to United States citizens, since the Alabama Legislature could easily have limited the statute to citizens of Alabama by express language but did not do so. However, there is no reported case in Alabama in which a citizen of another state has sought to invoke the provisions of the statute. Because the statute expressly provides for right of access of “citizens,” by standard rules of statutory construction foreign nationals would not have a right of access under the statute.”

SO it seems all US citizens have a fair shot, but there’s no case law so far to test that. 

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