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Delaware Public Records

The Delaware Freedom of Information Act (DFOIA) is a group of laws and definitions outlining the rights of the people and the duties of the state as they pertain to the archiving, request and delivery of public record.   "'Public record' is information of any kind, owned, made, used, retained, received, produced, composed, drafted or otherwise compiled or collected, by any public body, relating in any way to public business, or in any way of public interest, or in any way related to public purposes, regardless of the physical form or characteristic by which such information is stored, recorded or reproduced." [§ 10002.g]

Exemptions

  1. Personal, medical or pupil files
  2. Trade secrets and commercial or financial information
  3. Investigatory files
  4. Criminal files and criminal records
  5. Intelligence files
  6. Records specifically exempt by statute or common law
    • Federal statutes and regulations
    • State statutes and regulations
    • Constitutional exemptions
    • Common law privileges
  7. Charitable contributions
  8. Labor negotiations
  9. Pending or potential litigation
  10. Record of discussions held in executive session
  11. Persons with a permit to carry a concealed deadly weapon
  12. Public library users
  13. Department of Corrections records
  14. Investigative files maintained by the Violent Crimes Compensation Board
  15. Visual or audio recordings of postmortem examinations in the Office of Chief Medical Examiner
  16. Certain records that if released could jeopardize security of State facilities or of its political subdivisions, or could facilitate the planning of a terrorist attack, or could endanger the life or physical safety of an individual

Examination and copying of public records.

"All public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizen of the State during regular business hours by the custodian of the records for the appropriate public body. Reasonable access to and reasonable facilities for copying of these records shall not be denied to any citizen. If the record is in active use or in storage and, therefore, not available at the time a citizen requests access, the custodian shall so inform the citizen and make an appointment for said citizen to examine such records as expediently as they may be made available. Any reasonable expense involved in the copying of such records shall be levied as a charge on the citizen requesting such copy."  "It shall be the responsibility of the public body to establish rules and regulations regarding access to public records as well as fees charged for copying of such records." [§ 10003.a and § 10003.b]

DIVISION OF PUBLIC RECORDS/PUBLIC ARCHIVES COMMISSION

Brief History of Delaware

Before Delaware was settled by Europeans, the area was home to the Delaware (also known as Lenni Lenape), Susquehanna, and other Native American tribes. European exploration first occurred in 1609 by Henry Hudson under the direction of the Dutch West India Company. The Dutch that settled as a result of that exploration were the first Europeans to actually occupy the land. They established trading posts in what is now Lewes, Delaware in 1631. This settlement was short-lived as the inhabitants were either killed or driven out by war with the natives. Other European settlements in the area were more successful including settlements by the Swedish and the British.

Delaware was one of the 13 original colonies of the United States and participated in the revolt against British rule that was the American Revolutionary War. The Delawarean resistance was not strong enough though, as the soldiers were out manned and out gunned. The British were able to drive the colonials back and finally defeated them in the Battle of Brandywine, taking the colonial capital of Philadelphia.

Voters opted NOT to secede during the American Civil War, despite the fact that Delaware was a slave state. The feeling at the time was that the first state to adopt the union should not dismiss it. Most soldiers fought on the side of Lincoln, but some did fight for the other side in neighboring Confederate regiments. At the end of the Civil War, Delaware voted to reject the 13th amendment (although it symbolically ratified it in 1901).

The early economy of Delaware was dependent mainly on tobacco farming and other agriculture. Today the state's main outputs are:

Agriculture -- broilers, soybeans, corn, milk
Fishing Industry -- crabs, clams
Manufacturing -- chemicals, food products, paper products, rubber and plastics products, primary metals, printed materials
Mining -- sand and gravel, magnesium compounds

Delaware is famous for its pro-business climate, and is known as the "corporate capital of the world," because 60+% of Fortune 500 companies are incorporated in Delaware. This is because of looser laws and lower taxes imposed on corporations headquartered there than exist in most other states. more Info

Fast Facts:

  • Capital City: Dover
  • Biggest City: Wilmington
  • Population: ~873,092
  • State Bird: Blue Hen Chicken
  • State Flower: Peach Blossom
  • State Tree: American Holly
  • Nickname: The First State

Delaware Government Info:

Governor's Office

Dover Office

Tatnall Building
William Penn Street, 2nd Fl.
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 744-4101
Fax: (302) 739-2775

Wilmington Office

Carvel State Office Bldg.
820 N. French Street, 12th Fl.
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 577-3210
Fax: (302) 577-3118

Lieutenant Governor

Wilmington Office
Carvel State Office Building
820 N. French Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 577-8787 

Dover Office

Tatnall Building
3rd Floor
Dover, DE 19901
(302) 744-4333 

Staff

Chief of Staff    phone: (302) 577-8157
Policy Advisor    phone: (302) 577-8158
Director, Community Engagement and Prog., phone: (302) 577-8494
Legislative Assistant    phone: (302) 744-4311
Office Director/scheduler    phone: (302) 744-4333

Legislator Lookup - Delaware.gov's Lookup tool

Directory of Elected Officials

State Agencies

Alphabetical Directory of Delaware State Agencies

State Archives

The Delaware Public Archives is one of the oldest public archives programs in the country, the mission of which is

  1. to identify, collect, and preserve public records of enduring historical and evidential value
  2. to ensure access to public records for present and future generations of Delawareans
  3. to advise and educate in the creation, management, use, and preservation of public records