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New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act

NMSA 1978 § 14-2

14-2-1.   Right to inspect public records; exceptions.
14-2-2.   Repealed.
14-2-3.   Repealed.
14-2-4.   Short Title.
14-2-5.   Purpose of act; declaration of public policy.
14-2-6.   Definitions.
14-2-7.   Designation of custodian; duties.
14-2-8.   Procedure for requesting records.
14-2-9.   Procedure for inspection.
14-2-10. Procedure for excessively burdensome or broad requests.
14-2-11. Procedure for denied requests.
14-2-12. Enforcement.

14-2-1. Right to inspect public records; exceptions.

A.     Every person has a right to inspect public records of this state except:

(1)     records pertaining to physical or mental examinations and medical treatment of persons confined to an institution;

(2)     letters of reference concerning employment, licensing or permits;

(3)     letters or memoranda that are matters of opinion in personnel files or students’ cumulative files;

(4)     law enforcement records that reveal confidential sources, methods, information or individuals accused but not charged with a crime.  Law enforcement records include evidence in any form received or compiled in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution by a law enforcement or prosecuting agency, including inactive matters or closed investigations to the extent that they contain the information listed in this paragraph;

(5)     as provided by the Confidential Materials Act [14-3A-1 NMSA 1978];

(6)     trade secrets, attorney-client privileged information and long-range or strategic business plans of public hospitals discussed in a properly closed meeting;

(7)     tactical response plans or procedures prepared for or by the state or a political subdivision of the state, the publication of which could reveal specific vulnerabilities, risk assessments or tactical emergency security procedures that could be used to facilitate the planning or execution of a terrorist attack; and

(8)     as otherwise provided by law.[1]

B.    Protected personal identifier information contained in public records may be redacted by a public body before inspection or copying of a record. The presence of protected personal identifier information on a record does not exempt the record from inspection. Unredacted records that contain protected personal identifier information shall not be made available on publicly accessible web sites operated by or managed on behalf of a public body.

14-2-4. Short Title.

Chapter 14, Article 2 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the “Inspection of Public Records Act”.

14-2-5. Purpose of act; declaration of public policy.

Recognizing that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, the intent of the legislature in enacting the Inspection of Public Records Act [14-2-4 NMSA 1978] is to ensure, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of public officers and employees.  It is the further intent of the legislature, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that to provide persons with such information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officers and employees.

14-2-6. Definitions.

As used in the Inspection of Public Records Act [14-2-4 NMSA 1978]:

A.     “custodian” means any person responsible for the maintenance, care or keeping of a public body’s public records, regardless of whether the records are in that person’s actual physical custody and control;

B.      “file format” means the internal structure of an electronic file that defines the way it is stored and used;

C.     “inspect” means to review all public records that are not excluded in Section 14-2-1 NMSA 1978;

D.     “person” means any individual, corporation, partnership, firm, association or entity;

E.[2]     “protected personal identifier information” means:

(1)          all but the last four digits of a:

(a) taxpayer identification number;
(b) financial account number; or
(c) driver’s license number;

(2)          all but the year of a person’s date of birth; and

(3)          a social security number.

F.     “public body” means the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state and local governments and all advisory boards, commissions, committees, agencies or entities created by the constitution or any branch of government that receives any public funding, including political subdivisions, special taxing districts, school districts and institutions of higher education; and

G.     “public records” means all documents, papers, letters, books, maps, tapes, photographs, recordings and other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are used, created, received, maintained or held by or on behalf of any public body and relate to public business, whether or not the records are required by law to be created or maintained.

14-2-7. Designation of custodian; duties.

Each public body shall designate at least one custodian of public records who shall:

A.      receive and respond to requests to inspect public records;

B.      respond to requests in the same medium, electronic or paper, in which the request was made in addition to any other medium that the custodian deems appropriate;

C.      provide proper and reasonable opportunities to inspect public records;

D.     provide reasonable facilities to make or furnish copies of the public records during usual business hours; and

E.      post in a conspicuous location at the administrative office and on the publicly accessible web site, if any, of each public body a notice describing:

(1)         the right of a person to inspect a public body’s records;

(2)          procedures for requesting inspection of public records, including the contact information for the custodian of public records;

(3)          procedures for requesting copies of public records;

(4)          reasonable fees for copying public records; and

(5)          the responsibility of a public body to make available public records for inspection.
14-2-8. Procedure for requesting records.

A.     Any person wishing to inspect public records may submit an oral or written request to the custodian.  However, the procedures set forth in this section shall be in response to a written request.  The failure to respond to an oral request shall not subject the custodian to any penalty.

B.     Nothing in the Inspection of Public Records Act shall be construed to require a public body to create a public record.

C.     A written request shall provide the name, address and telephone number of the person seeking access to the records and shall identify the records sought with reasonable particularity.  No person requesting records shall be required to state the reason for inspecting the records.

D.     A custodian receiving a written request shall permit the inspection immediately or as soon as is practicable under the circumstances, but not later than fifteen days after receiving a written request.  If the inspection is not permitted within three business days, the custodian shall explain in writing when the records will be available for inspection or when the public body will respond to the request.  The three-day period shall not begin until the written request is delivered to the office of the custodian.

E.     In the event that a written request is not made to the custodian having possession of or responsibility for the public records requested, the person receiving the request shall promptly forward the request to the custodian of the requested public records, if known, and notify the requester.  The notification to the requester shall state the reason for the absence of the records from that person’s custody or control, the records’ location and the name and address of the custodian.

F.     For the purposes of this section, “written request” includes an electronic communication, including email or facsimile; provided that the request complies with the requirements of Subsection C of this section.

 

14-2-9. Procedure for inspection.

A.     Requested public records containing information that is exempt and nonexempt from disclosure shall be separated by the custodian prior to inspection, and the nonexempt information shall be made available for inspection.  If necessary to preserve the integrity of computer data or the confidentiality of exempt information contained in a database, a partial printout of data containing public records or information may be furnished in lieu of an entire database.   Exempt information in an electronic document shall be removed along with the corresponding metadata prior to disclosure by utilizing methods or redaction tools that prevent the recovery of exempt information from a redacted electronic document.

B.     A custodian shall provide a copy of a public record in electronic format if the public record is available in electronic format and an electronic copy is specifically requested. However, a custodian is only required to provide the electronic record in the file format in which it exists at the time of the request.

C.     A custodian:

(1)         may charge reasonable fees for copying the public records, unless a different fee is otherwise prescribed by law;

(2)         shall not charge fees in excess of one dollar ($1.00) per printed page for documents eleven inches by seventeen inches in size or smaller;

(3)         may charge the actual costs associated with downloading copies of public records to a computer disk or storage device, including the actual cost of the computer disk or storage device;

(4)         may charge the actual costs associated with transmitting copies of public records by mail, electronic mail or facsimile;

(5)         may require advance payment of the fees before making copies of public records;

(6)         shall not charge a fee for the cost of determining whether any public record is subject to disclosure; and

(7)         shall provide a receipt, upon request.

D.     Nothing in this section regarding the provision of public data in electronic format shall limit the ability of the custodian to engage in the sale of data as authorized by Section 14-3-15.1 NMSA 1978, including imposing reasonable restrictions on the use of the database and the payment of a royalty or other consideration.
14-2-10. Procedure for excessively burdensome or broad requests.

If a custodian determines that a written request is excessively burdensome or broad, an additional reasonable period of time shall be allowed to comply with the request. The custodian shall provide written notification to the requester within fifteen days of receipt of the request that additional time will be needed to respond to the written request.  The requester may deem the request denied and may pursue the remedies available pursuant to the Inspection of Public Records Act [14-2-4 NMSA 1978] if the custodian does not permit the records to be inspected in a reasonable period of time.

14-2-11. Procedure for denied requests.

A.     Unless a written request has been determined to be excessively burdensome or broad, a written request for inspection of public records that has not been permitted within fifteen days of receipt by the office of the custodian may be deemed denied.  The person requesting the public records may pursue the remedies provided in the Inspection of Public Records Act [14-2-4 NMSA 1978].

B.     If a written request has been denied, the custodian shall provide the requester with a written explanation of the denial.  The written denial shall:

(1)          describe the records sought;

(2)          set forth the names and titles or positions of each person responsible for the denial; and

(3)          be delivered or mailed to the person requesting the records within fifteen days after the request for inspection was received.

C.     A custodian who does not deliver or mail a written explanation of denial within fifteen days after receipt of a written request for inspection is subject to an action to enforce the provisions of the Inspection of Public Records Act and the requester may be awarded damages.  Damages shall:

(1)         be awarded if the failure to provide a timely explanation of denial is determined to be unreasonable;

(2)          not exceed one hundred dollars ($100) per day;

(3)          accrue from the day the public body is in noncompliance until a written denial is issued; and

(4)          be payable from the funds of the public body.
14-2-12. Enforcement.

A.     An action to enforce the Inspection of Public Records Act [14-2-4 NMSA 1978] may be brought by:

(1)          the attorney general or the district attorney in the county of jurisdiction; or

(2)          a person whose written request has been denied.

B.     A district court may issue a writ of mandamus or order an injunction or other appropriate remedy to enforce the provisions of the Inspection of Public Records Act.

C.     The exhaustion of administrative remedies shall not be required prior to bringing any action to enforce the procedures of the Inspection of Public Records Act.

D.     The court shall award damages, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees to any person whose written request has been denied and is successful in a court action to enforce the provisions of the Inspection of Public Records Act.


[1]The 2011 amendments moved four exceptions to other statutes. Language creating an exception for “public records containing the identity of or identifying information relating to an applicant or nominee for the position of president of a public institution of higher education” will be moved to a new section ofNMSA 1978 § 21-1. Public-notice procedures for the presidential search process (previously NMSA 1978 § 14-2-1.B-E) will also be moved to 21-1. A consolidated version of three exceptions for veterans’ discharge records will be moved to a new section of NMSA 1978 § 14-8.
[2]Subsection E will likely appear only in the annotated version of the compiled statutes, since the bill which added subsection B to this section was signed into law at a later date. It is still considered by the Attorney General’s Office to be part of the law.

NEW MEXICO OPEN MEETINGS ACT

NMSA 1978 § 10-15

10-15-1 Formation of public policy; procedures for open meetings; exceptions and procedures for closed meetings.
10-15-1.1 Short title.
10-15-2 State legislature; meetings.
10-15-3 Invalid actions; standing
10-15-4 Penalty.
10-15-1. Formation of public policy; procedures for open meetings; exceptions and procedures for closed meetings.
A.     In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be public policy of this state that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. The formation of public policy or the conduct of business by vote shall not be conducted in closed meeting. All meetings of any public body except the legislature and the courts shall be public meetings, and all persons so desiring shall be permitted to attend and listen to the deliberations and proceedings. Reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate the use of audio and video recording devices.
B.     All meetings of a quorum of members of any board, commission, administrative adjudicatory body or other policymaking body of any state agency, any agency or authority of any county, municipality, district or any political subdivision, held for the purpose of formulating public policy, including the development of personnel policy, rules, regulations or ordinances, discussing public business or for the purpose of taking any action within the authority of or the delegated authority of any board, commission or other policymaking body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times, except as otherwise provided in the constitution of New Mexico or the Open Meetings Act [Chapter 10, Article 15 NMSA 1978]. No public meeting once convened that is otherwise required to be open pursuant to the Open Meetings Act shall be closed or dissolved into small groups or committees for the purpose of permitting the closing of the meeting.
C.     If otherwise allowed by law or rule of the public body, a member of a public body may participate in a meeting of the public body by means of a conference telephone or other similar communications equipment when it is otherwise difficult or impossible for the member to attend the meeting in person, provided that each member participating by conference telephone can be identified when speaking, all participants are able to hear each other at the same time and members of the public attending the meeting are able to hear any member of the public body who speaks during the meeting.
D.     Any meetings at which the discussion or adoption of any proposed resolution, rule, regulation or formal action occurs and at which a majority or quorum of the body is in attendance, and any closed meetings, shall be held only after reasonable notice to the public. The affected body shall determine at least annually in a public meeting what notice for a public meeting is reasonable when applied to that body. That notice shall include broadcast stations licensed by the federal communications commission and newspapers of general circulation that have provided a written request for such notice.
E.     A public body may recess and reconvene a meeting to a day subsequent to that stated in the meeting notice if, prior to recessing, the public body specifies the date, time and place for continuation of the meeting and, immediately following the recessed meeting, posts notice of the date, time and place for the reconvened meeting on or near the door of the place where the original meeting was held and in at least one other location appropriate to provide public notice of the continuation of the meeting. Only matters appearing on the agenda of the original meeting may be discussed at the reconvened meeting.
F.   Meeting notices shall include an agenda containing a list of specific items of business to be discussed or transacted at the meeting or information on how the public may obtain a copy of such an agenda.  Except in the case of an emergency or in the case of a public body that ordinarily meets more frequently than once per week, at least seventy-two hours prior to the meeting, the agenda shall be available to the public and posted on the public body’s web site, if one is maintained.  A public body that ordinarily meets more frequently than once per week shall post a draft agenda at least seventy-two hours prior to the meeting and a final agenda at least thirty-six hours prior to the meeting.  Except for emergency matters, a public body shall take action only on items appearing on the agenda.  For purposes of this subsection, “emergency” refers to unforeseen circumstances that, if not addressed immediately by the public body, will likely result in injury or damage to persons or property or substantial financial loss to the public body.  Within ten days of taking action on an emergency matter, the public body shall report to the attorney general’s office the action taken and the circumstances creating the emergency; provided that the requirement to report to the attorney general is waived upon the declaration of a state or national emergency.

G.     The board, commission or other policymaking body shall keep written minutes of all its meetings. The minutes shall include at a minimum the date, time and place of the meeting, the names of members in attendance and those absent, the substance of the proposals considered and a record of any decisions and votes taken that show how each member voted. All minutes are open to public inspection. Draft minutes shall be prepared within ten working days after the meeting and shall be approved, amended or disapproved at the next meeting where a quorum is present. Minutes shall not become official until approved by the policymaking body.



H.     The provisions of Subsections A, B and G of this section do not apply to:
(1)     meetings pertaining to issuance, suspension, renewal or revocation of a license, except that a hearing at which evidence is offered or rebutted shall be open. All final actions on the issuance, suspension, renewal or revocation of a license shall be taken at an open meeting;
(2)     limited personnel matters; provided that for purposes of the Open Meetings Act [10-15-1.1 NMSA 1978], “limited personnel matters” means the discussion of hiring, promotion, demotion, dismissal, assignment or resignation of or the investigation or consideration of complaints or charges against any individual public employee; provided further that this subsection is not to be construed as to exempt final actions on personnel from being taken at open public meetings, nor does it preclude an aggrieved public employee from demanding a public hearing. Judicial candidates interviewed by any commission shall have the right to demand an open interview;
(3)     deliberations by a public body in connection with an administrative adjudicatory proceeding. For purposes of this paragraph, an “administrative adjudicatory proceeding” means a proceeding brought by or against a person before a public body in which individual legal rights, duties or privileges are required by law to be determined by the public body after an opportunity for a trial-type hearing. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the actual administrative adjudicatory proceeding at which evidence is offered or rebutted and any final action taken as a result of the proceeding shall occur in an open meeting;
(4)     the discussion of personally identifiable information about any individual student, unless the student, his parent or guardian requests otherwise;
(5)     meetings for the discussion of bargaining strategy preliminary to collective bargaining negotiations between the policymaking body and a bargaining unit representing the employees of that policymaking body and collective bargaining sessions at which the policymaking body and the representatives of the collective bargaining unit are present;
(6)     that portion of meetings at which a decision concerning purchases in an amount exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) that can be made only from one source and that portion of meetings at which the contents of competitive sealed proposals solicited pursuant to the Procurement Code [13-1-28  NMSA 1978] are discussed during the contract negotiation process. The actual approval of purchase of the item or final action regarding the selection of a contractor shall be made in an open meeting;
(7)     meetings subject to the attorney-client privilege pertaining to threatened or pending litigation in which the public body is or may become a participant;
(8)     meetings for the discussion of the purchase, acquisition or disposal of real property or water rights by the public body;
(9)     those portions of meetings of committees or boards of public hospitals where strategic and long-range business plans or trade secrets are discussed; and
(10)     that portion of a meeting of the gaming control board dealing with information made confidential pursuant to the provisions of the Gaming Control Act [60-2E-1 NMSA 1978].
I.     If any meeting is closed pursuant to the exclusions contained in Subsection H of this section, the closure:
(1)     if made in an open meeting, shall be approved by a majority vote of a quorum of the policymaking body; the authority for the closure and the subject to be discussed shall be stated with reasonable specificity in the motion calling for the vote on a closed meeting; the vote shall be taken in an open meeting; and the vote of each individual member shall be recorded in the minutes. Only those subjects announced or voted upon prior to closure by the policymaking body may be discussed in a closed meeting; and
(2)     if called for when the policymaking body is not in an open meeting, shall not be held until public notice, appropriate under the circumstances, stating the specific provision of the law authorizing the closed meeting and stating with reasonable specificity the subject to be discussed is given to the members and to the general public.
J.     Following completion of any closed meeting, the minutes of the open meeting that was closed or the minutes of the next open meeting if the closed meeting was separately scheduled shall state that the matters discussed in the closed meeting were limited only to those specified in the motion for closure or in the notice of the separate closed meeting. This statement shall be approved by the public body under Subsection G of this section as part of the minutes.
10-15-1.1 Short title
Chapter 10, Article 15 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the “Open Meetings Act”.
10-15-2. State legislature; meetings.
Unless otherwise provided by joint house and senate rule, all meetings of any committee or policy-making body of the legislature held for the purpose of discussing public business or for the purpose of taking any action within the authority of or the delegated authority of the committee or body are declared to be public meetings open to the public at all times.  Reasonable notice of meetings shall be given to the public by publication or by the presiding officer of each house prior to the time the meeting is scheduled.
 B.     The provisions of Subsection A of this section do not apply to matters relating to personnel or matters adjudicatory in nature or to investigative or quasi-judicial proceedings relating to ethics and conduct or to a caucus of a political party.
 C.     For the purposes of this section, “meeting” means a gathering of a quorum of the members of a standing committee or conference committee held for the purpose of taking any action within the authority of the committee or body.
10-15-3. Invalid actions; standing.
A.     No resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance or action of any board, commission, committee or other policymaking body shall be valid unless taken or made at a meeting held in accordance with the requirements of Section 10-15-1 NMSA 1978. Every resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance or action of any board, commission, committee or other policymaking body shall be presumed to have been taken or made at a meeting held in accordance with the requirements of Section 10-15-1 NMSA 1978.
B.     All provisions of the Open Meetings Act shall be enforced by the attorney general or by the district attorney in the county of jurisdiction. However, nothing in that act shall prevent an individual from independently applying for enforcement through the district courts, provided that the individual first provides written notice of the claimed violation to the public body and that the public body has denied or not acted on the claim within fifteen days of receiving it. A public meeting held to address a claimed violation of the Open Meetings Act shall include a summary of comments made at the meeting at which the claimed violation occurred.
C.     The district courts of this state shall have jurisdiction, upon the application of any person to enforce the purpose of the Open Meetings Act, by injunction, mandamus or other appropriate order. The court shall award costs and reasonable attorney fees to any person who is successful in bringing a court action to enforce the provisions of the Open Meetings Act. If the prevailing party in a legal action brought under this section is a public body defendant, it shall be awarded court costs. A public body defendant that prevails in a court action brought under this section shall be awarded its reasonable attorney fees from the plaintiff if the plaintiff brought the action without sufficient information and belief that good grounds supported it.
D.     No section of the Open Meetings Act shall be construed to preclude other remedies or rights not relating to the question of open meetings.
10-15-4. Penalty.
Any person violating any of the provisions of Section 10-15-1 or 10-15-2 NMSA 1978 is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense.