Module 4: Appeals

Section 4.4 Appeals to the records committee

Petitions for appeals to the records committee must be made to the executive secretary of the records committee, who is familiar with all aspects of the requirements for appeal. However, records officers should review the provisions regarding appeals to the records committee to understand the governmental entity’s responsibilities.

The petitioner must send a copy of the appeal to the governmental entity on the same day the appeal is filed with the records committee. (Subsection (3)) This is so the governmental entity is aware of the appeal and can prepare. If the executive secretary of the records committee schedules a hearing, she will send a notice of the hearing, the appeal, and statement of facts to all participating parties, including the governmental entity. (Subsection (4))

The governmental entity is required to send its statement of facts, reasons, and legal authority in support of the governmental entity’s position to the executive secretary and the petitioner no later than five days before the hearing. (Subsection (5))

63G-2-403. Appeals to the records committee.
. . . .(5) (a) A written statement of facts, reasons, and legal authority in support of the governmental entity's position must be submitted to the executive secretary of the records committee not later than five business days before the hearing.
(b) The governmental entity shall send a copy of the written statement to the petitioner by first class mail, postage prepaid. The executive secretary shall forward a copy of the written statement to each member of the records committee.

The records committee’s administrative rules, Title R35. Administrative Services, Records Committee, govern its proceedings. If a governmental entity is involved in a hearing before the records committee, it should review them.

The committee will hear statements and testimony from each party and will draft the substance of its decision and order in the hearing. If the records committee orders release of the records, the governmental entity has 30 [calendar] days to either comply with the order and submit a notice of compliance with the executive secretary, or appeal to district court. If the records committee upholds the restricted classification, the petitioner may petition the court within 30 [calendar] days. (Subsections (8, 12, 14))

The entire requests and appeals process and the respective time frames can be seen in the table below:

Government to respond to a GRAMA request

As soon as reasonably possible but no more than 10 business days

63G-2-204(3)

Government to affirm or deny request for expedited response

No more than 5 business days

63G-2-204(3)

Government to respond to expedited GRAMA request

No more than 5 business days

63G-2-204(3)

Government to respond if extraordinary circumstances

As soon as reasonably possible and according to additional details outlined in the law; notify when records will be available

63G-2-204(6)

Requester to appeal denial to chief administrative officer

Within 30 days after receiving notice of denial or if the governmental entity fails to respond

63G-2-401(1) 63G-2-204(8)

Chief administrative officer to respond to appeal

No more than 5 business days or 12 business days if business confidentiality is involved; by agreement parties may extend the time period

63G-2-401(5)

Requester to appeal the denial of the chief administrative officer to the state records committee.

Within 30 days after receiving response or 45 days after appeal if chief administrative officer did not respond (requestor may choose to appeal in district court instead)

63G-2-403(1)

Requester to notify government of intent to appeal

On same day as request for State records committee hearing

63G-2-403(3)

State records committee executive secretary to schedule hearing

Within 5 business days after receiving request

63G-2-403(5)

Date of hearing

Not less than 14 days or more than 52 days after request for hearing

63G-2-403(4)

Government to provide statement of facts supporting government position

Not later than 5 business days before hearing

63G-2-403(5)

State records committee to issue a decision and order

Within 7 business days after the hearing

63G-2-403(11)

Government to comply with order to produce records or either party may appeal state records committee decision in district court

Within 30 days after the date of the state records committee’s order

63G-2-404(1)