Know your rights under the Guam Sunshine Law


BASIC INFORMATION: The Guam Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Sunshine Reform Act of 1999, is codified at 5 GCA Chapter 10. The FOIA provides that every person has the right to inspect and take a copy of any public document on Guam, except as otherwise expressly prohibited in law.


TIME TO RESPOND: Requests shall be answered within four (4) working days from receipt of the request. Some information contained in the records may be redacted, if exempted from disclosure by law. A requestor will be notified if the request falls within an exemption that prohibits disclosure of the requested record(s). In unusual circumstances, a request may be extended up to ten (10) calendar days, in accordance with 5 GCA §10103(e).


COPYING CHARGES: The government may charge the media or the general public a copying fee of up to ten cents (10₵) for the first page, and two cents (2₵) for each page thereafter. Fees shall be paid in advance for certified copies, as provided for at 5 GCA §10102. No fees shall be charged to any government of Guam department, agency, instrumentality or public corporation, so long as the documents are requested in an official capacity.


ANNUAL REPORT: Government agencies must submits an annual report to the Attorney General of Guam covering FOIA request information for the preceding fiscal year, in accordance with 5 GCA §10107.


PENALTIES FOR NON-DISCLOSURE: Penalties for non-disclosure are found under § 10112 and holds that the violator is subject to $1,000 fines each time to be paid personally and can be found guilty of a misdemeanor. “If the Court finds that the public official’s decision to refuse disclosure is not justified under this Chapter, the Court shall order the public official to pay a fine of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00). The fine shall be a personal expense for the responsible official and in no way shall the fine be paid by the agency or the government of Guam…. Any officer or employee who acts arbitrarily or capriciously in withholding a public record from a requesting person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”


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