• 12 minutes

Where Does the Right to Access Public Records Come From


Some states have public record provisions in their constitutions.

Typically this is a vague policy statement, with the details of the right to public records set forth in a statute. The details of each state’s grant of access to public records is set out in statute. The statute may be called the “public records law,” the “freedom of information act” (as the federal statute is called), the “right to know law,” the “public disclosure act,” etc. This video provides details on provisions in public records law and who the law applies to. 

Runtime: 11 minutes



Dan Zimmerman

Dan Zimmerman


  • Staff attorney in the New Orleans office of Phelps Dunbar LLP
  • Has litigated numerous public records and government access cases on behalf of news media clients
  • Representing a New Orleans television station, he obtained a ruling that required the city of New Orleans to produce the electronic calendar and emails of then Mayor C. Ray Nagin; prosecutors recently used entries in the calendar as evidence to convict Mr. Nagin on multiple charges of public bribery and corruption
  • J.D. degree, cum laude, Tulane University Law School
  • Can be contacted at 504-584-9365 or [email protected]
Mary Ellen Roy

Mary Ellen Roy


  • Partner in the New Orleans office of Phelps Dunbar LLP
  • Represents book and magazine publishers, television networks, television stations, newspapers, Internet companies, entertainers, record companies, movie studios, and TV and film production companies throughout the Gulf South in copyright, trademark, and First Amendment litigation
  • Listed in Super Lawyers and The Best Lawyers in America
  • On behalf of a national hip hop duo, won a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a local musician and obtained award of attorneys’ fees
  • J.D. degree, cum laude, Harvard Law School
  • Can be contacted at 504-584-9254 or [email protected]

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