Louisiana FOIA Laws

Louisiana Open Meetings Law

Article 12, Section 3 in the Louisiana Open Meetings Law states “No person shall be denied the right to observe the deliberations of public bodies and examine public documents, except in cases established by law.” Some requirements are:

●     Every Government entity holding an open meeting must allow time for public comment.

●     Every school board meeting must allow public comment before every vote.

●     People who willfully disrupt a meeting so that business can not be conducted may be removed.

●     Each public entity may develop its own “reasonable rules, regulations and restrictions” on public comment and involvement for meetings.

Open Meetings Law La.R.S. 42:4.1 etseq.

Closed: Discussion of the character, professional competence or health of a person; collective bargaining negotiations; discussions of security plans or devices; misconduct investigations; and natural disaster discussion

Louisiana Public Records Act

The Louisiana Public Records Act, also known as Louisiana’s Sunshine Law, was enacted by the state’s legislature in 1940. Section LA 44.01.2(a) defines public records as, “All books, records, writings, accounts, letters and letter books, maps, drawings, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, memorandum, 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, are “public records”, except as otherwise provided in this Chapter or the Constitution of Louisiana.”

Anyone can request public records and a purpose does not need to be stated. There are no restrictions on what can be done with the public documents once a records requester has them in hand. The custodian of the records must respond to requests within three days.

Open Records Law La.R.S. 44:1 etseq.

Exempt: Pending criminal litigation; juvenile status offenders; sexual offense victims; security procedures; trade secrets; and some public employee information.

Visit, Louisiana Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.