Executive Order No. 734

Promoting Transparency in State Government Through Enhanced Accessibility to Public Records

WHEREAS Founding Father John Adams once wrote that “liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people”;

WHEREAS, to this end, the Alabama Legislature has codified a right “of every citizen” to obtain “any public writing of this state, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute”;

WHEREAS, recognizing the sensitivity of many kinds of information, the Alabama Legislature has enacted (at last count) over 250 express provisions establishing exemptions from disclosure under Alabama’s public-records law;

WHEREAS the Alabama Constitution, decisions of the Alabama Supreme Court, state-agency administrative rules, rules of court, and federal law may also limit what records state executive-branch agencies may disclose;

WHEREAS the Alabama Supreme Court has also recognized that disclosure of government records must always be balanced against the need for government business to be conducted “efficiently and without undue interference”;

WHEREAS improvements can be made to reduce and standardize agency response times in processing public-records requests without sacrificing agencies’ ability to effectively and efficiently fulfill their essential functions;

WHEREAS improvements can also be made to reduce and standardize the fees citizens must pay to obtain public records; and

WHEREAS improvements can also be made to enhance citizens’ ability to easily request public records from state executive-branch agencies;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Kay Ivey, Governor of the State of Alabama, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Alabama, do hereby promulgate this executive order to streamline and improve public-records policies within the executive branch of state government.