Public Record Requests
What is a public record?
Public records are defined by the Louisiana Public Records Law as “[a]ll books, records, writings, accounts, letters and letter books, maps, drawings, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, memoranda, and papers, and all copies, duplicates, photographs, including microfilm, or other reproductions thereof, or any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, including information contained in electronic data processing equipment, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed, or retained for use in the conduct, transaction, or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty, or function which was conducted, transacted, or performed by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state, or by or under the authority of any ordinance, regulation, mandate, or order of any public body or concerning the receipt or payment of any money received or paid by or under the authority of the constitution or the laws of this state.”
Every record made or received by CATS is presumed to be a public record, unless it is subject to an exemption. Public records exempt from disclosure are those that federal, state or local law prohibits CATS from disclosing or permits CATS to decline to disclose. Louisiana Public Records Law and its exemptions appears in La. R.S 44:4.1.et. seq.
How do I request a public record?
To review or receive a copy of a public record, you must first make a request to the “custodian” of the document in question. The most efficient way to make a public record request to CATS is through the online submission form.
What is a custodian?
The custodian of a public record is “the public official or head of any public body having custody or control of a public record, or a representative specifically authorized by him to respond to request to inspect any such public records.”
What do I need to say in my request?
There is no specific form that must be used to request records, nor is there any language you must use in your request. To expedite processing of your request, please be as specific as possible. Keep in mind that all public records requests must request a record, not ask a question.
Who may request a public record?
Any person of the age of majority may request a public record.
When may I review a public record?
Examinations of records must be conducted during regular office or working hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), unless the custodian authorizes examination of records in other than regular office or working hours. In this latter event, the persons designated to represent the custodian during such examination shall be entitled to reasonable compensation to be paid to them by the public body having custody of such record, out of funds provided in advance by the person examining such record in other than regular office or working hours.
How much may the Department charge me for responding to the request?
There is no fee for the response or to examine records. The Department may charge for the duplication of copies of records. If there is a request of a copy of a record in a format other than paper, then the Department may charge you for the cost of the medium on which the information is duplicated (e.g., a computer disc). In addition, a Department may charge you for the postage of sending the records to the requester.