Distribution of Mailing Lists
Mailing lists comprise a system of records established in carrying out the various programs of the NDSU Extension Service
NDSU General Counsel's opinion, dated May 8, 2002 states: "I do not find a specific federal law or regulation or even policy which is contrary to the Open Records Law of the State of North Dakota. Therefore, the Open Records Law would apply to mailing lists that do not contain confidential data."
Consequently, Extension mailing lists containing name, address, and phone numbers will generally have to be made available when requested. Access to mailing lists is generally free. However, a reasonable charge for the actual costs for mailing and making copies, including labor, materials, and postage, can be assessed. Costs for locating the records can also be assessed if it takes longer than 1 hour.
If the request is for a list that was received from another entity (such as a list of producers from Farm Service Agency), direct the request to the original source of the list.
The major exception to the open records law pertaining to mailing lists would be lists of children. Consequently, 4-H member mailing lists are exempt from the open records law. However, there could be other exceptions depending on the nature of the list, so legal advice should be obtained when in doubt.