Sample Open Records Request

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					                                   Tennessee Tax Revolt, Inc.

                             Making an Open Records Request for
                              Government Records in Tennessee

The most powerful unit of government is the individual citizen. Government is authorized to exist
by individual citizens and was created to serve individual citizens.

If you or any Tennessee citizen would like to make a request for government records, it is your
legal right to inspect those records.

Your reasons for making the request are no one’s business but your own. You may believe that a
government official is committing fraud or you may simply be casually curious.

The government may not ask you for justification for the request. The fact that you are a citizen of
Tennessee is always justification enough.

Tennessee code defines Public Records as: all documents, papers, letters, maps, books,
photographs, microfilms, electronic data processing files and output, films, sound recordings, or
other material, regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received pursuant to law or
ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any governmental agency.

A records request is very easy to make and doesn’t even have to be in writing. However, it is
advisable to put it in writing so the request can be proved in court if need be. The request can be
faxed, emailed or sent by letter.

Follow these simple steps:

    1- Decide what information you want. It’s YOUR records request so knock yourself out and
       ask for anything you like. Government is there to serve YOU and by law must reveal any
       and all public records.
    2- Be as specific as possible about author, subject matter, and date ranges.
    3- Send the request to the “Records Officer” in care of the department head. Each
       department has a person assigned to be the records officer and that person is
       responsible for fulfilling open records requests.
    4- Request that the records be made available in a reasonable amount of time and follow up
       with a phone call a few days after the request.


    Here is a sample request:
Date: June 18, 2004


Records Officer
c/o Joe Bureacrat
War Memorial Building
Nashville, TN 37243

RE: Request for public records pursuant to Tennessee Code Title 10, Chapter 7

Dear Records Officer:

I am making a request under Tennessee's Open Records law, including § 10-7-121 (e-mail
and computer records), for:

All correspondence either TO: or FROM: Joe Bureaucrat concerning the Tennessee By-pass
road project. I am requesting correspondence of all types including email and written
correspondence. I would like to see any such correspondence created on or after June 12,
1999.

I am willing to pay whatever reasonable duplication costs you have established, but request
that you waive any fees. I am not engaged in any commercial enterprise related to this
request. In the event the fees you have established by rule or policy exceed $15.00, please
notify me.

The records may be delivered to me in hard copy at [address] or via e-mail at [e-dress].

Prompt action on this request would be very much appreciated. If you have any questions or
need clarification about the records I am seeking please feel free to contact me at [phone
number (s)]. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Sincerely,


Jane Citizen

				
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