The New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) is a very good tool for gathering information on the facts and circumstances surrounding legal claims against governmental entities. In fact, a great deal of information can often be gathered through an IPRA Request. The scope of IPRA is very broad in recognition of the fact that the government should not keep secrets from the public.
IPRA can be used to gather information for any activity undertaken by the government.
Scope of IPRA Request
There are twelve sections in the IPRA. These outline the rights and duties of both the requesting citizen and the responding governmental entity. To begin, it is important to understand the definitions utilized by IPRA as set forth in NMSA § 14-2-6:
F. “public body” means the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state and local governments and all advisory boards, commissions, committees, agencies or entities created by the constitution or any branch of government that receives any public funding, including political subdivisions, special taxing districts, school districts and institutions of higher education; and
G. “public records” means all documents, papers, letters, books, maps, tapes, photographs, recordings and other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are used, created, received, maintained or held by or on behalf of any public body and relate to public business, whether or not the records are required by law to be created or maintained.
A reading of these definitions shows the vast scope of public bodies and public records subject to IPRA. Every single local, municipal, county and state governmental entity as well as the departments, divisions and offices within them, is subject to IPRA. In turn, there are very few exceptions to the scope of “public records”.
Democracy Depends on Freedom of Information and Open Government
IPRA, like its federal counterpart the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the parallel laws in presumably all other states, was created to shine the light on the activities of government. The Public must be able to find out what it’s government is up to.
The United States remains the greatest Democracy among all nations. However, Democracy is not easy. It requires hard work and diligence. It requires citizens to demand to know what their government is doing, both big and small. It all matters.
In our dealings with IPRA, Collins & Collins, P.C. is dealing with government entities that have harmed one of our clients. We want to know, and our clients deserve to know, what policies, practices, procedures and other governmental activities and prerogatives contributed to the harm caused by their own government.
Although our IPRA activities are specific to our individual client needs to know the facts, IPRA is a powerful tool for Democracy and can be used for much broader issues. Use IPRA when you suspect the government of violating the rights of citizens. Democracy depends on it.
Public Records Inspection Request
Public Records Inspection Request The Inspection of Public Records Act is intended to provide the public with access to information governmental affairs. The law requires public access to virtually all public records with a few exceptions most records are available for public inspection. Each state agency and local governmental entities have designated a records custodian to whom requests to inspect records should be addressed.
OMA and IPRA – NM Sunshine Laws
OMA and IPRA – NM Sunshine Laws The Open Meetings Act (OMA) is a state law, which provides the statutory guidelines for conducting public meetings. The Attorney General has the statutory authority to enforce OMA and to ensure that those public meetings covered by OMA are in compliance with state law. In order to assist the public and those that are covered by OMA we have a full printable copy of our OMA Compliance Guide online.
The Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) is a New Mexico state law that provides the public and media access to public information. The law requires open access to almost all public records in state and local government, with few exceptions. Under IPRA, the public has the right to take legal action if they are denied access to public records, an important mechanism to empower the public.
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