Upon the issuance of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s Executive Order No. 734 (Promoting Transparency in State Government Through Enhanced Accessibility to Public Records) on January 26, 2023, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) began working to establish a standardized approach to assist state agencies in receiving public records requests from Alabama citizens.

Among other directives outlined in EO 734, the order requires executive-branch state agencies to: 1) establish an email address to receive public records requests and 2) create an agency public records webpage that is accessible through a link included on the homepage of each agency’s official website.

To address the first of these requirements, OIT created a mail-enabled distribution group (i.e., email address) for each agency within its O365 tenant using the agency’s domain (ex. public.records@agencyname.alabama.gov). These ready-to-use distribution groups were offered at no cost to these agencies.

While agencies were able to decide for themselves how to best meet the order’s requirement to establish a public records webpage and link, OIT developed a solution that it was able to offer to any agencies needing support. When requested by an agency, OIT would create a customized “Public Records” link that was placed in the footer of that agency’s website. This link directs users to an OIT-developed records request web application which displays a form to request records from the associated agency. After filling out and submitting this form, an email detailing the request is then sent to the agency’s distribution group (described above).

OIT is continuously working to provide agencies with the best possible service in order for the state – and its numerous agencies, commissions, and boards – to operate as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Assisting agencies with EO734 allowed OIT to help the state with the implementation of Governor Ivey’s executive order while also making the process for citizens requesting public records simple and straightforward.