Module 4: Appeals

Section 4.5 Appeals to the records committee (63G-2-403)

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 to the requester or interested party no later than five days before the hearing. (Subsection (5))

The state 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. In certain circumstances the state records committee can deny a petitioner’s request for a hearing.

At a hearing the committee will hear statements and testimony from each party in an open and public meeting 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 both 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 response and appeals process with respective time frames is shown in this table:

Governmental entity to respond to a GRAMA request As soon as reasonably possible but no later than 10 business days after receiving the request 63G-2-204(3)
Governmental entity to affirm or deny request for expedited response No more than 5 business days after receiving request for expedited response 63G-2-204(3)
Governmental entity to respond to expedited GRAMA request If request for expedited response is granted, no more than 5 business days after receiving request 63G-2-204(3)
Governmental entity to respond to GRAMA request 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 or interested party to appeal governmental entity’s denial to chief administrative officer Within 30 days after governmental entity sends a notice of denial or 30 days after response time expires if governmental entity failed to provide records 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 of parties, time may be extended 63G-2-401(5)
Requester or interested party to notify governmental entity of intent to appeal On same day as appeal is made to the state records committee 63G-2-403(3)
Requester or interested party to appeal chief administrative officer’s denial to state records committee

Within 30 days after date of issuance of decision or 30 days after response time expires and if governmental entity fails to provide records; 45 days if claim of extraordinary circumstances and failure to issue a decision

63G-2-403(1)
Interested party or requester to appeal chief administrative officer’s denial to local appeals board Undefined in GRAMA, but to be established by ordinance or policy of the local governmental entity  
Records committee appellant to appeal local appeals board’s decision to the state records committee Within 30 days after date of issuance of decision being appealed 63G-2-203(1)

State records committee executive secretary to schedule or decline to schedule a hearing

Within 7 business days after receiving a notice of appeal 63G-2-403(4)
Date of hearing

Not less than 16 days or more than 64 days after date notice of appeal was filed (provisions for extension if too many hearings)

63G-2-403(4)
Governmental entity to provide statement of supporting facts to state records committee and all interested parties. Not later than 5 business days prior to hearing date. 63G-2-403(5)
State records committee to issue a signed order Within 7 business days after the hearing 63G-2-403(11)

Governmental entity to file notice of compliance or appeal the state records committee’s decision in district court.

Within 30 days after the date of the state records committee’s order or decision 63G-2-403(1)
Any party to petition for judicial review

Within 30 days after the date of state records committee decision, or 30 days after decision of chief administrative officer or local appeals board if appellant chooses to seek legal redress without exhausting other recourse

63G-2-404(1)