FOI Hotlines Across the Country

We are in the process of collecting all the contact information we can regarding Freedom of Information hotlines, those places where citizens and journalists can find someone to ask a question regarding freedom of information issues, particularly (but not exclusively) at the state and local levels.

Below, you will see the information we have (where applicable) for each state. You will also see that we are lacking that information for a number of states, which could mean either that we do not have all the information that's available or that no FOI hotline exists there.

If you have more information for us, or if you see a mistake in what's here, we'd be very grateful to hear from you. You can use this email address to share that information with us.

 

Federal:

Federal FOIA Ombudsman: The Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) resource for the public and the government. Congress has charged OGIS with reviewing FOIA policies, procedures and compliance of Federal agencies and to recommend changes to FOIA. Their mission also includes resolving FOIA disputes between Federal agencies and requesters. Visit OGIS homepage for more options.

 

National:

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: Any journalist of any type and citizen activists who publish the information they gather can call the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any state or federal FOIA question. If litigators (or a more finessed answer) are necessary, RCFP will make referrals. RCFP's FOI Director is Mark Caramanica; hotline number is 800.336.4243.

 

Regional

New England Newspaper and Press Association
"Represents and serves more than 450 daily, weekly and specialty newspapers throughout the six-state region."
Phone: 1-888-428-7490 (Members only)
http://www.nenpa.com/story/media-law-hotline

States:

Alabama    Alaska    Arizona    Arkansas    California    Colorado    Connecticut    Delaware    Florida    Georgia    Hawaii    Idaho    Illinois    Indiana    Iowa    Kansas    Kentucky    Louisiana    Maine    Maryland    Massachusetts    Michigan    Minnesota    Mississippi    Missouri    Montana    Nebraska    Nevada    New Hampshire    New Jersey    New Mexico    New York    North Carolina    North Dakota    Ohio    Oklahoma    Oregon    Pennsylvania    Rhode Island    South Carolina    South Dakota    Tennessee    Texas    Utah    Vermont    Virginia    Washington    West Virginia    Wisconsin    Wyoming

 

Alabama

No information yet available.

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Alaska

No information yet available.

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Arizona

First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, Inc.
Phone: 602.351.8085
Contact: Daniel C. Barr, Perkins Cole LLC
Email: dbarr@perkinscole.com

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Arkansas

Attorney General's Office
(800) 482-8992
http://www.ag.arkansas.gov/

APA FOI Hotline
(501) 372-0800

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California

First Amendment Coalition
(415) 460-5060
http://www.firstamendmentcoalition.org/legal-hotline/
"The First Amendment Coalition is an award-winning, nonprofit public interest organization dedicated to advancing free speech, more open and accountable government, and public participation in civic affairs. The Coalition acts locally, statewide and nationally."

Californians Aware
Phone (916) 487-7000
Public Questions & Discussion http://www.calaware.org/forums/phpBB3/
Private Questions & Discussion info@calaware.org

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Colorado

Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, LLP
For Colorado Press Association Members
(303) 376-2400
Contact: Christophear Beall
http://lskslaw.com/
Email: cbeall@lskslaw.com
"LSKS has been at the forefront of advocacy for the public’s right to information about its government.  Our attorneys have litigated the rights of access to legislative and court records, the right to “open” courtrooms (including the right to videotape, photograph, and tweet from judicial proceedings), and the right to obtain government documents under the Freedom of Information Act and state open records laws."

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Connecticut

Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission
(860) 566-5682
http://www.ct.gov/foi
foi@ct.gov
"The Freedom of Information Commission's mission is to administer and enforce the provisions of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, and to thereby ensure citizen access to the records and meetings of public agencies in the State of Connecticut."

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Delaware

No information yet available

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Florida

First Amendment Foundation
(800) 337-3518
Contact: Barbara Petersen, President
http://www.floridafaf.org
info@floridafaf.org
"The First Amendment Foundation is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the public's constitutional right to oversee its government through Florida's Sunshine and Public Records Law. Acting as the public's advocate, the Foundation provides a variety of services to citizens, government officials, and the media."

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Georgia

Georgia First Amendment Foundation
Phone (404) 525-3646
Fax (404) 377-0486
http://www.gfaf.org/
Email info@gfaf.org

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Hawaii

No information yet available

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Idaho

Idahoans for Openness in Government
(208) 336-2854
Contact: Betsey Russell
http://www.openidaho.org
"Idahoans for Openness in Government, or IDOG, is a broad-based, non-profit coalition for open government. Like similar coalitions in more than 40 other states, IDOG’s mission is to promote open government and freedom of information. IDOG’s board includes people from inside and outside of government, the media, civic organizations and more."

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Illinois

No information yet available

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Indiana

Indiana Coalition for Open Government
Contact: Gerry Lanosga, President
Email: info@indianacog.org
Website: www.indianacog.org

Office of the Indiana Public Access Counselor
Contact: Joe Hoage, Public Access Counselor
Phone: (317) 234-0906
Toll-free: (800) 228-6013
Online Contact Form: www.in.gov/pac/2337.htm
Email: johoage@icpr.in.gov

 

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Iowa

Iowa Freedom of Information Council
(515) 271-2295
Contact: Kathleen Richardson
Email kathleen.richardson@drake.edu
http://www.ifoic.org
"The Iowa FOI Council is a coalition of journalists, librarians, lawyers, educators and other Iowans interested in open government. We welcome your questions, your comments and your support."

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Kansas

No information yet available

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Kentucky

No information yet available

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Louisiana

New Orleans Coalition on Open Governance
4902 Canal Street, Suite 300
New Orleans, LA 70119
Phone (504) 267-4665
http://www.nocog.org/
Email: OpenGovNOLA@gmail.com

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Maine

Maine Freedom of Information Coalition
http://www.mfoic.org
info@mfoic.org
"MFOIC's goal is to educate all Mainers, from individual citizens to educators, students, the media, legal professionals, public and business officials, about their rights and responsibilities as citizens in our democracy."

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Maryland

No information yet available

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Massachusetts

No information yet available

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Michigan

Michigan Freedom of Information Committee
(313) 577-2627
Contact: Ben Burns
aa5200@wayne.edu

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Minnesota

No information yet available

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Mississippi

Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information, Inc.
(662) 915-7146
Contact: Jeanni Atkins, Executive Director
http://www.mcfoi.org/
Email iatkins@olemiss.edu

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Missouri

This hotline exists for members of the organization only - not for the public.

Missouri Press Association

Jean Maneke
The Maneke Law Group, L.C.
(816) 753-9000
jmaneke@manekelaw.com

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Montana

Montana Freedom of Information Hotline, Inc.

Mike Meloy
mike@meloylawfirm.com
P.O. Box 1241
Helena, MT  59624
406-442-8670

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Nebraska

No information yet available

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Nevada

No information yet available

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New Hampshire

No information yet available

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New Jersey

Government Records Council
PO Box 819
Trenton, NJ 08625-0819
Phone: 1-866-850-0511 GRC Hotline
Email: grc@dca.state.nj.us
http://www.nj.gov/opra

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New Mexico

New Mexico Foundation for Open Government
(505) 764-3750 / (888) 843-9121
http://www.nmfog.org
info@nmfog.org
"The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government is an educational and charitable organization with a single mission--to help the general public, students, educators, public officials, media and legal professionals understand, obtain and exercise their rights and responsibilities under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records, Open Meetings and Arrest Record Information Acts, their rights under the federal Freedom of Information Act and their First Amendment rights."

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New York

Committee on Open Government
(518) 474-2518
Contact: Robert Freeman, Executive Director
coog@dos.state.ny.us
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/coog/index.html
"The Committee is responsible for overseeing and advising with regard to the Freedom of Information Law, the Open Meetings Law and the Personal Privacy Protection Law(Public Officers Law, Articles 6, 7 and 6-A respectively). Staff of the Committee gives advice by telephone, email, written advisory opinions, and training classes conducted throughout the state. Advice is offered to the government, the public and the news media.

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North Carolina

North Carolina Open Government Coalition
Phone (336) 278-5506
Email: ncopengov@Elon.edu
http://www.ncopengov.org
"The North Carolina Open Government Coalition unites organizations interested in ensuring and enhancing the public's access to government activity, records and meetings. The nonpartisan coalition will educate people about their rights and support their efforts to gain access, and advocate the principles and benefits of open government.

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North Dakota

N.D. Newspaper Association & N.D. Broadcaster's Association
(701) 751-1776
Contact: Jack McDonald
jackmcdonald@wheelerwolf.com

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Ohio

Ohio Coalition for Open Government
(614) 486-6677, ext 16.
Contact: Dennis Hetzel
dhetzel@ohionews.org
http://www.ohionews.org
"The Coalition serves as a clearinghouse for media and citizen grievances that involve open meetings and open records, and offers guidance to reporters in local government situations. The activities of the Coalition include monitoring government officials for compliance, filing “amicus” briefs in lawsuits, litigation and public education."

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Oklahoma

No information yet available

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Oregon

No information yet available

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Pennsylvania

PaFOIC Open Government Forum
No telephone inquiries
"Post Pennsylvania Right to Know and Sunshine Act questions
online for a quick response."

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Rhode Island

No information yet available

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South Carolina

S.C. Press Association
Phone (803) 750-9561
Email: brogers@scpress.org

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South Dakota

No information yet available

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Tennessee

Office of Open Records Counsel — State Comptroller Office
(866) 831-3750
Email open.records@tn.gov
http://www.comptroller1.state.tn.us/openrecords
"The Office of Open Records Counsel serves as the contact for concerns on access to local government public records under the Tennessee Public Records Act. The Office assists in obtaining public records from local government, both in guiding citizens to correct offices/officials and in working to resolve disputes regarding access to public records. The Office promotes education and awareness of the Tennessee public records and open meetings laws through direct outreach and through coordination with existing organizations. This effort is addressed both to citizens and to local governments."

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Texas

Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, Inc.
(800) 580-6651
http://foift.org
"The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas works to encourage, sponsor and facilitate a greater appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the First Amendment. Ensuring that the public’s business is conducted in public, the FOIFT has successfully helped citizens access government meetings and documents that should be a matter of public record."

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Utah

Utah Freedom of Information Hotline
Contact: Jeffrey J. Hunt
Parr Brown Gee & Loveless
185 South State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(801) 532-7840
Fax: (801) 532-7750
Email: jhunt@parrbrown.com

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Vermont

No information yet available

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Virginia

Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council
(866) 448-4100
http://foiacouncil.dls.virginia.gov/
Email: foiacouncil@dls.virginia.gov

Virginia Coalition for Open Government
Contact: Megan Rhyne
Phone: 540-353-8264
Email: vcog@opengovva.org
www.opengovva.org/ask-us-a-foia-question

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Washington

Washington Coalition for Open Government
"Represents individuals and organizations intent on preserving and protecting Washington's Open Government Laws - Open Records and Open Meetings. Its mission is to represent the public in matters where open government issues are raised, are threatened, or deserves broader exposure."
Contact: Elly Snow, Executive Director
Phone: (206) 782-0393
Email: wcoghelp@washingtoncog.org
www.washingtoncog.org

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West Virginia

No information yet available

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council
Contact: Bill Lueders, President
Phone (608) 669-4712
Email: blueders@wisconsinwatch.org

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Wyoming

Wyoming Press Association
307-778-8844
"Services reserved for use by the media in Wyoming, although if somebody from the public asks a question, they could pose it to their hotline attorney."

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