The Louisiana Public Records Act is also known as Louisiana’s Sunshine Law. It was enacted by the state’s legislature in 1940. The Act is provided under La.R.S. 44. In 1974, Louisiana adopted a new State Constitution which included a provision establishing that public documents are presumed to be open for public inspection. In the 1974 constitution, La. Const. art. XII, § 3 says “no person shall be denied the right to . . . examine public documents except in cases established by law.” However, the 1940 and 1974 laws both limited who could ask for records to “state electors” and “state taxpayers”.
In 1978, the law was again altered, providing that any person of the age of majority can examine public records in the state and that penalties were set for government officials who failed to comply with the law.
The Louisiana Open Meeting Law under R.S. 42:12 provides the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The statement of purpose of the Open Meetings Act states, “it is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens be advised of and aware of the performance of public officials and the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. Toward this end, the provisions of this Chapter shall be construed liberally.”