It is mandatory for a governmental body to withhold confidential information from public disclosure. However, a governmental body has discretion to withhold other requested information.  So what does this mean?


A governmental body is required to withhold certain types of information by statute.  If information is confidential by statute, a governmental body generally cannot release the requested information.  Here is a list of common types of information that is confidential by law.

  • Dates of birth of living persons
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Insurance policy numbers
  • Juvenile offender records
  • Child abuse investigations
  • Peace officer’s home address
  • Peace officer’s family member information


A governmental body has the option to withhold non-confidential information in certain circumstances. In other words, a governmental body is not required to withhold requested information, but it may use its discretion to withhold the information. Here is a list of common types of information a governmental body may choose to withhold.

  • Attorney-Client communications
  • Drafts of policymaking documents
  • Information related to pending litigation
  • Audit working papers
  • Competitive bidding information before contract awarded


In either circumstance, a governmental is generally required to seek a ruling from OAG unless there is a previous determination allowing the governmental to withhold the type of information it seeks to withhold.  Further, if a governmental body has previously released information voluntarily that is not confidential by law, the governmental body cannot claim a discretionary exception to withhold the previously released information.  Review our Public Information Act Handbook (PDF) for more information on exceptions to disclosure.