Every record that is made or received by a government entity or employee is presumed to be a public record unless a specific statutory exemption permits or requires it to be withheld in whole or in part.
Specific statutory exemptions have been created by the legislature. There are non-statutory exemptions as well called common law exemptions. Non-statutory exemptions include the common law attorney-client privilege and the work-product privilege. These exemptions permit the agency or municipality to withhold a record from the public. A records access officer (RAO) must prove with specificity why it should be allowed to withhold any public record.
The exemptions to the Public Records Law are described in this guide. If an RAO claims an exemption and withholds a record, the RAO has the burden of showing how the exemption applies to the record and why it should be withheld.