FOI Hotlines Across the Nation

FOI “Hotlines” provide residents with a quick-access resource to answer a question or help with a problem. Most states have hotlines to serve residents. Some are operated by their state’s FOI organization –members of NFOIC. Some are operated by other organizations, even individuals who are knowledgeable about their state’s open government laws ans policies.

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.

NFOIC has compiled a list of hotline numbers found below. However, not every state is represented with a number. If you are aware of a hotline number that is available to the public in your state and is not listed below, please email 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: The Reporters Committee Legal Defense and FOIA Hotline is available to journalists and media lawyers during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET) using our hotline form. Outside normal business hours, you can reach us in an emergency — for example, if a journalist has been arrested or faces an imminent threat of arrest — by calling 1-800-336-4243.

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  District of Columbia  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

Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

https://www.splcenter.org/

Contact page for SPLC: https://www.splcenter.org/contact-us

Shay Farley, Policy Counsel

Email: shay.farley@splcenter.org

Phone: (334) 320 – 2292

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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

Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition 
(720) 274-7177
Contact: Jeff Roberts
www.coloradofoic.org
Email: jroberts@coloradofoic.org
“The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition is a non-partisan alliance of news organizations, groups and individuals. Our mission is to ensure that Coloradans – journalists, the general public, public officials, educators, students, business owners and legal professionals – understand and use the public’s rights of access to the records and proceedings of government and the judiciary.”

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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.”

New England First Amendment Coalition
Contact:
Justin Silverman
https://www.nefac.org/
Email: justin@nefac.org
“The New England First Amendment Coalition defends, promotes and expands public access to government and the work it does. The coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians and academicians, as well as private citizens and organizations whose core beliefs include the principles of the First Amendment. The coalition aspires to advance and protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and the principle of the public’s right to know, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In collaboration with other like-minded advocacy organizations, NEFAC also seeks to advance understanding of the First Amendment across the nation and freedom of speech and press issues around the world.”

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Delaware

No information yet available

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District of Columbia

D.C. Open Government Coalition
3901 Argyle Ter. NW, Washington, D.C. 20011
(202) 780-6020
Contact:
Tom Susman, President

“The D.C. Open Government Coalition (DCOGC) aims to enhance access to District of Columbia government information, ensure transparency of government operations, and promote civic engagement.  Founded in 2009 with a board including representatives of media, community organizations, journalism teachers, foundations and law firms, the DCOGC works through litigation, legislation and public education. It is not involved in federal FOIA matters.” 

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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: Zachary Baiel, President
Email: info@indianacog.org
Website: www.indianacog.org

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

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Iowa

Iowa Freedom of Information Council
(515) 745-0041
Contact: Randy Evans
Email IowaFOICouncil@gmail.com
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.”

New England First Amendment Coalition
Contact:
Justin Silverman
https://www.nefac.org/
Email: justin@nefac.org
“The New England First Amendment Coalition defends, promotes and expands public access to government and the work it does. The coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians and academicians, as well as private citizens and organizations whose core beliefs include the principles of the First Amendment. The coalition aspires to advance and protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and the principle of the public’s right to know, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In collaboration with other like-minded advocacy organizations, NEFAC also seeks to advance understanding of the First Amendment across the nation and freedom of speech and press issues around the world.”

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Maryland

No information yet available

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Massachusetts

New England First Amendment Coalition
Contact:
Justin Silverman
https://www.nefac.org/
Email: justin@nefac.org
“The New England First Amendment Coalition defends, promotes and expands public access to government and the work it does. The coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians and academicians, as well as private citizens and organizations whose core beliefs include the principles of the First Amendment. The coalition aspires to advance and protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and the principle of the public’s right to know, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In collaboration with other like-minded advocacy organizations, NEFAC also seeks to advance understanding of the First Amendment across the nation and freedom of speech and press issues around the world.”

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Michigan

No information yet available

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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

Right to Know New Hampshire (RTKNH)
Email: RightToKnowNH@gmail.com
http://www.RightToKnowNH.org
“Right to Know NH (RTKNH) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen coalition working to improve access to New Hampshire state, county, and local governments. We advocate to strengthen New Hampshire state laws, particularly the Right-to-Know law known as RSA 91-A, as well as Right-to-Know governmental policies. We serve as a resource on Right to Know in our state with the goal of making government more open and transparent.  We educate citizens on their Right to Know and aid them in exercising their rights under the law. We educate public officials on improving their adherence to the law and delivering greater government transparency to their constituents.”

New England First Amendment Coalition
Contact:
Justin Silverman
https://www.nefac.org/
Email: justin@nefac.org
“The New England First Amendment Coalition defends, promotes and expands public access to government and the work it does. The coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians and academicians, as well as private citizens and organizations whose core beliefs include the principles of the First Amendment. The coalition aspires to advance and protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and the principle of the public’s right to know, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In collaboration with other like-minded advocacy organizations, NEFAC also seeks to advance understanding of the First Amendment across the nation and freedom of speech and press issues around the world.”

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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

No information yet available

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Rhode Island

New England First Amendment Coalition
Contact:
Justin Silverman
https://www.nefac.org/
Email: justin@nefac.org
“The New England First Amendment Coalition defends, promotes and expands public access to government and the work it does. The coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians and academicians, as well as private citizens and organizations whose core beliefs include the principles of the First Amendment. The coalition aspires to advance and protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and the principle of the public’s right to know, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In collaboration with other like-minded advocacy organizations, NEFAC also seeks to advance understanding of the First Amendment across the nation and freedom of speech and press issues around the world.”

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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

Tennessee Coalition for Open Government
(615) 602-4080
Deborah Fisher
fisher@tcog.info
http://www.tcog.info
“Tennessee Coalition for Open Government seeks to preserve, protect and improve citizen access to public information and open government in Tennessee through an alliance of citizens, journalists and civic groups. Our focus is research and education because we believe knowledgeable citizens are the best way to protect the free flow of information.”

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

New England First Amendment Coalition
Contact:
Justin Silverman
https://www.nefac.org/
Email: justin@nefac.org
“The New England First Amendment Coalition defends, promotes and expands public access to government and the work it does. The coalition is a broad-based organization of people who believe in the power of transparency in a democratic society. Its members include lawyers, journalists, historians, librarians and academicians, as well as private citizens and organizations whose core beliefs include the principles of the First Amendment. The coalition aspires to advance and protect the five freedoms of the First Amendment, and the principle of the public’s right to know, in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. In collaboration with other like-minded advocacy organizations, NEFAC also seeks to advance understanding of the First Amendment across the nation and freedom of speech and press issues around the world.”

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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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