Delaware Code Title 29. State Government § 10003. Examination and copying of public records

(a) All public records shall be open to inspection and copying during regular business hours by the custodian of the records for the appropriate public body.  Reasonable access to and reasonable facilities for copying of these records shall not be denied to any citizen.

(b) All state agencies and public bodies shall implement and promulgate a policy for addressing requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

(c) All state agencies and public bodies shall develop a web portal for receiving FOIA requests through the internet.  Such portals shall utilize the standard request form promulgated by the Attorney General.

(d)(1) All state agencies and public bodies are to provide reasonable assistance to the public in identifying and locating public records to which they are entitled access, and all records held by the agency are “public records” to which the public should have access unless they fall within the scope of enumerated exceptions in § 10002 of this title.

(2) All public bodies in the executive branch of state government that are subject to the provisions of this chapter and are required by statute, regulation, or other established policy to publish an annual or biennial report, shall electronically post copies of these reports to a single designated State website approved by the Secretary of State.  Electronic notification of the availability of these reports on the designated State website shall fulfill a public body’s duty to publish and provide these reports to the Governor, General Assembly, or other state agencies or state officials.

(e) All state agencies and public bodies shall provide a mailing address for receiving FOIA requests through the U.S. mail.

(f) Form of request.--

(1) All FOIA requests shall be made in writing to the public body in person, by U.S. mail, by e-mail, by fax, or online in accordance with the provisions hereunder.  FOIA requests may be submitted using the FOIA Request Form promulgated by the Office of the Attorney General provided, however, that any FOIA request that otherwise conforms with the policy hereunder shall not be denied solely because the request is not on the promulgated form.  Copies of the FOIA request form may be obtained from the website of any state agency, school district, or other public body.

(2) All requests shall adequately describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable the public body to locate such records with reasonable effort.  The requesting party shall be as specific as possible when requesting records.  To assist the public body in locating the requested records, the public body may request that the requesting party provide additional information known to the requesting party, such as the types of records, dates, parties to correspondence, and subject matter of the requested records.

(g) FOIA coordinator.--

(1) Each public body shall designate a FOIA coordinator who shall serve as the point of contact for FOIA requests and coordinate the public body's responses thereto.  The FOIA coordinator shall be identified on the public body's website and each public body shall provide the name and contact information for its FOIA coordinator to the Attorney General.  The public body shall update this information on its website and with the Attorney General within 20 working days of any change in its FOIA coordinator or the FOIA coordinator’s contact information.  The FOIA coordinator may designate other employees to perform specific duties and functions hereunder.

(2) The FOIA coordinator and/or his or her designee, working in cooperation with other employees and representatives, shall make every reasonable effort to assist the requesting party in identifying the records being sought, and to assist the public body in locating and providing the requested records.  The FOIA coordinator and/or his or her designee will also work to foster cooperation between the public body and the requesting party.

(3) In addition to the foregoing responsibilities, the FOIA coordinator shall maintain a document tracking all FOIA requests.  For each FOIA request, the document shall include, at a minimum, the requesting party's contact information, the date the public body received the request, the public body's response deadline, the date of the public body's response (including the reasons for any extension), the names, contact information and dates of correspondence with individuals contacted in connection with requests, the dates of review by the public body, the names of individuals who conducted such reviews, whether documents were made available, the amount of copying and/or administrative fees assessed, and the date of final disposition.

(h) Response to requests.--

(1) The public body shall respond to a FOIA request as soon as possible, but in any event within 15 business days after the receipt thereof, either by providing access to the requested records, denying access to the records or parts of them, or by advising that additional time is needed because the request is for voluminous records, requires legal advice, or a record is in storage or archived.  If access cannot be provided within 15 business days, the public body shall cite 1 of the reasons hereunder why more time is needed and provide a good-faith estimate of how much additional time is required to fulfill the request.

(2) If the public body denies a request in whole or in part, the public body's response shall indicate the reasons for the denial.  The public body shall not be required to provide an index, or any other compilation, as to each record or part of a record denied.

(i) Requests for e-mail.--

(1) Requests for e-mail records shall be fulfilled by the public body from its own records, if doing so can be accomplished by the public body with reasonable effort.  If the public body determines that it cannot fulfill all or any portion of such request, the public body shall promptly request that its information and technology personnel or custodians provide the e-mail records to the public body.

(2) Before requesting the information and technology personnel or custodians to provide e-mail records, the public body shall provide an itemized written cost estimate to the requesting party, listing all charges expected to be incurred in retrieving such records.  Upon receipt of the estimate, the requesting party may decide whether to proceed with, cancel, or modify the request.

(j) Requests for other noncustodial records.--

(1) If all or any portion of a FOIA request seeks records controlled by the public body but are not within its possession or cannot otherwise be fulfilled by the public body with reasonable effort from the records it possesses, then the public body shall promptly request that the relevant custodian provide the noncustodial records to the public body.

(2) Before requesting any noncustodial records, the public body shall provide an itemized written cost estimate to the requesting party, listing all charges expected to be incurred in retrieving such records.  Upon receipt of the estimate, the requesting party may decide whether to proceed with, cancel, or modify the request.

(k) Review by public body.--Prior to disclosure, records may be reviewed by the public body to ensure that those records or portions of records deemed nonpublic may be removed pursuant to § 10002 of this title or any other applicable provision of law.  In reviewing the records, all documents shall be considered public records unless subject to 1 of the exceptions set forth in § 10002 of this title or any other applicable provision of law.

(l) Hours of review.--The public body shall provide reasonable access for reviewing public records during regular business hours.

(m) Fees.--Unless otherwise set forth in the Delaware Code or any applicable code of a county or municipal public body, the following fees shall apply:

(1) Photocopying fees.--In instances in which paper records are provided to the requesting party, photocopying fees shall be as follows:

Standard-sized, black and white copies:  The first 20 pages of standard-sized, black and white copies material shall be provided free of charge.  The charge for copying standard sized, black and white public records for copies over and above 20 shall be $0.10 per sheet ($0.20 for a double-sided sheet).  This charge applies to copies on the following standard paper sizes:  8.5'' x 11'', 8.5'' x 14'', and 11'' x 17''.

Oversized copies/printouts:  The charge for copying oversized public records shall be as follows:  18″ x 22″, $2.00 per sheet;  24'' x 36'', $3.00 per sheet;  documents larger than 24'' x 36'', $1.00 per square foot.

Color copies/printouts:  An additional charge of $1.00 per sheet will be assessed for all color copies or printouts for standard-sized copies (8.5'' x 11'', 8.5'' x 14'', and 11'' x 17'') and $1.50 per sheet for larger copies.

(2) Administrative fees.--Administrative fees shall be levied for requests requiring more than 1 hour of staff time to process.  Charges for administrative fees may include staff time associated with processing FOIA requests, including, without limitation:  identifying records;  monitoring file reviews;  and generating computer records (electronic or print-outs).  Administrative fees shall not include any cost associated with the public body's legal review of whether any portion of the requested records is exempt from FOIA.  The public body shall make every effort to ensure that administrative fees are minimized, and may only assess such charges as shall be reasonable required to process FOIA requests.  In connection therewith, the public body shall minimize the use of nonadministrative personnel in processing FOIA requests, to the extent possible.

Prior to fulfilling any request that would require a requesting party to incur administrative fees, the public body shall provide an itemized written cost estimate of such fees to the requesting party, listing all charges expected to be incurred in retrieving such records.  Upon receipt of the estimate, the requesting party may decide whether to proceed with, cancel, or modify the request.

Administrative fees will be billed to the requesting party per quarter hour.  These charges will be billed at the current hourly pay grade (prorated for quarter hour increments) of the lowest-paid employee capable of performing the service.  Administrative fees will be in addition to any other charges incurred under this section for copying fees.

When multiple FOIA requests are submitted by or on behalf of the requesting party in an effort to avoid incurring administrative charges, the public body may in its discretion aggregate staff time for all such requests when computing fees hereunder.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, any Freedom of Information Act policy adopted by a public body pursuant to subsection (b) of this section hereunder may include provisions for the waiver of some or all of the above administrative fees;  provided that such waiver shall apply equally to a particular class of persons (i.e., nonprofit organizations).

(3) Microfilm and/or microfiche printouts.--The first 20 pages of standard-sized, black and white material copied from microfilm and/or microfiche shall be provided free of charge.  The charge for microfilm and/or microfiche printouts over and above 20 shall be $0.15 per sheet.

(4) Electronically generated records.--Charges for copying records maintained in an electronic format will be calculated by the material costs involved in generating the copies (including but not limited to DVD, CD, or other electronic storage costs) and administrative costs.

(5) Payment.--The public body may require all or any portion of the fees due hereunder to be paid prior to any service being performed pursuant to this section.


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