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Whether you live in Farmington, Las Cruces, Hobbs, Taos, Santa Fe or Albuquerque and any place in between, FOG is working to keep the doors of government open. We daily receive questions on our free hotline from citizens, businesses, the press and even public officials, seeking help to access public records or attend public meetings.
Our members, donors and board of directors live throughout New Mexico and work to bring 365 days of sunshine to the state.
We answer hundreds of questions from the public each year concerning the Inspection of Public Records Act. Check below to learn if you question is answered and if not, contact us.
What are Public Records?
•Body-worn camera video
•Draft of minutes
•Draft of a study
What is considered an original record of entry? Records compiled in chronological order, including incident reports, accident reports, and dispatch logs are OREs. They do not fall under IPRA but the Arrest Record Information Act.
Are the salaries of public employees considered a public record? Yes, it is taxpayer money, and the taxpayer should have access to information on how it is spent.
Is a third-party government contractor working for a state agency subject to IPRA? Yes, contractors performing a public function on behalf of state, county or local agencies must open their records to public inspection.
Are concealed carry permit records subject to IPRA? The records are subject to inspection and they are housed at the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.
Are settlement payout records subject to disclosure under IPRA? Yes, IPRA requires the agency to provide this information if requested. State settlements are posted publicly 180 days after the agreement is reached.
Are contracts awarded to firms by public bodies subject to IPRA? Yes, contracts involving the public’s money are subject to IPRA.
Are animal control department records of complaints against dogs subject to IPRA? Yes, unless another law protects the record of complaints, the department must allow for the inspection of the records concerning animal complaints.
Are videos from a police body camera subject to IPRA? To inspect the video, file a request with the records custodian for the law enforcement agency.
If an agency is asked for a list of names and email addresses, may it redact the email addresses before allowing inspection? No, a recent court ruling clarified that only protected personal identifier information may be redacted
Are public agencies required to post a notice describing procedures to request an inspection of a record? Yes, IPRA requires that a notice be posted and that it list contact info for the custodian, procedures and a schedule of fees for copies.
May an agency limit the number of IPRA requests I submit? No, there is no limit on the number of requests you make.
Can an agency ask me how I will use the record I am requesting? No, the agency is not permitted to ask you how you will use the information.
Is it legal for a municipal judge to withhold records? No, the records in municipal court are subject to IPRA and withholding the records from a requester is a violation of the Act.
If a public official uses their own computer for the public’s business are the emails, etc., on the device subject to the IPRA? Yes, the information, even if it is on a privately-owned device, is subject to IPRA.
What information must be included if a request to inspect records is denied? The denial must be in writing, describe the record(s), list the name and title of the person responsible for the denial and sent within 15 days of the initial request.
What should I say if the records custodian says the record is confidential, or law enforcement or personnel matter and I may not have it. “Which statute makes it confidential?” “Please redact any confidential information and provide the rest of the document.”
Is an agency allowed to verbally deny a request for a record? No, IPRA requires a written explanation be provided with a reason for the denial, a description of the records and the name and position of the person responsible for the denial.
Can a records custodian ignore a request if the requested record is not in their possession? No, if a request is not made to the custodian responsible for the record, the custodian must promptly forward the request to the proper custodian.
Fees and Public Records
Does IPRA allow an agency to charge a fee to research a record? No, there is no fee to inspect a record.
Can an agency charge me money to research a record? No, IPRA only allows an agency to charge up to $1 to produce a copy of a record. There is no fee to research the record.
Must a meeting notice include an agenda? Yes, OMA requires an agenda with specific items of business to be discussed or transacted and information on how the public may obtain a copy of the agenda.
Should a public body list specific items in a meeting agenda? Yes, OMA requires an agenda to be clear so as the public knows which items of business will be discussed or acted on by the body. Vague items fail to satisfy this requirement
Is a public body required to give notice for an emergency meeting? Yes, the public body should give 24 hours-notice before an emergency meeting. Within 10 days, it must notify the AG’s office of the meeting and any actions.
What is a rolling quorum? Members of a public body don’t need to be in the same room to hold a meeting; they might discuss business through e-mail or phone calls. This is illegal unless the participants follow all the requirements of the OMA.
Are board members required to take a roll call vote if they want to go into executive session? Yes, OMA requires a vote and the vote of each member to be reflected in the minutes. Only prior announced items may be discussed in a closed meeting.
Must elected officials go into executive session to discuss employee salaries? No, the salaries of public employees are public information and subject to IPRA.