March 28, 2023, 8:17 am
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General Information About Mississippi Public Records and Laws
In Mississippi, public records are available to the general public as well as to businesses upon request. This right is given to the people through the Mississippi Public Records Act. It defines what public records in the state are, what rights you have to access them as well as what to do to receive them. In many cases, these records are readily available to use as is needed.
What Are Public Records Here?
The state's law defines that a public record is any type of book, paper, account, letter, photograph, film, tape or other recording, or other material, that is obtained by, created by, modified for or given to a government entity. The state does not offer a full list of what records are available, but does provide for some limited exemptions to these rules. The most common records sought after include those for access to vital statistics and forms, government actions, policies and meeting minutes, property records for ownership, tax payment, liens and mortgages and court records in both civil and criminal cases. There are limitations to access to some of this information.
In order to protect some types of information, the Mississippi Public Records Act does provide for a few exemptions to this law. The exemptions include the following.
·         Any type of personal identifying information is not available if the information could put someone in danger or if the information is a violation of privacy laws.
·         Any type of information that would hinder or obstruct the normal functions of government or law enforcement are considered exempt.
·         Student records and medical records remain protected, due to federal laws.
Information such as medical examiner data, open investigations, personnel information, charitable registration information, birth defects registry, attorney records, insurance records and individual tax records remain exempt from access.
Obtaining Mississippi Public Records
Individuals who wish to obtain a copy or to view any type of available public record must approach the governing body and request this information specifically. The law does require for this information to be made available within a reasonable amount of time and to be accessible during normal business hours of operation. In some cases, a small fine may need to be paid to cover the administrative costs of the obtaining of such records.
In Mississippi, public records may be available directly from the governing body, or through a search of the records on its website. Third party providers also provide some of this information. The following are some of the locations that provide information in the state.
·         Business and organization information is maintained through the Attorney General's Office in Jackson.
·         For vital records, the State Department of Health, Vital Statistics and Records office is available, as is local county board of health offices.
·         Some criminal records are available through the Criminal Information Center, Department of Public Safety.
Individuals who need to access Mississippi public records can do so in a number of ways. However, this information is not available for illegal use or for marketing purposes.
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