Officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the state of Kentucky is located in the east south-central region of the United States and was originally a part of Virginia. Known as the “Bluegrass State,” Kentucky is famous for its fertile soil and for being home to the world’s longest cave system in Mammoth Cave National Park. Ranked as the 26th most populous state, Kentucky has 4.4 million residents and does make provisions for sharing its public records.
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Kentucky Public Records Laws
The Kentucky Open Records Act was passed in 1976 and is covered under state statute Chapter 61 KRS 61.870 – 61.884. Under the law, “any person” may inspect public records and a person includes corporations, societies, and communities. People requesting records may be asked to state their reason and intended use for the records. Commercial use of records isn’t forbidden in most cases but does need to be disclosed.
Public entities that must produce records include any public agency, including all state and local government offices. This includes the executive and legislative branches, and any body that obtains at least 25 percent of its funds from the state. The judicial branch is not subject to the law per case law via the state Supreme Court. Records that are not covered, or are exempt, include:
- Personal information
- Trade secrets
- Medical files
- Examination data
- Law enforcement records
- Records made exempt by statute
Kentucky Criminal Records, Arrest Records and Background Checks
Background checks in Kentucky are handled by two different agencies. You can request a Criminal Records Report through the Kentucky Court of Justice using their online system. This is for a public records report, and it is also a name-based report. The Kentucky State Police also administer background checks for licensing, criminal justice and employment purposes. These are also name-based reports but require the signed consent of the person being reported on.
Kentucky Jail and Inmate Records
If you are looking for information on offenders in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, need help with Victim Services, or want to learn more about the correctional facilities in the state, you can go to the state Department of Corrections website. To search for a particular offender, the state has its own search page called Kentucky Online Offender Lookup (KOOL). You will be prompted to enter Last, First, and Middle Name of the offender. The system will provide you with the offender’s location, a list of offenses, and earliest release date.
Kentucky Court Records
Any information on the court system in Kentucky can be obtained from the administrator of the courts website. Court records can be searched through the state’s online CourtNet website. This will provide records on criminal and civil cases although paper copies will still need to be requested through the appropriate courthouse.
Kentucky Vital Records
Vital records in the Commonwealth of Kentucky are maintained by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Vital Statistic Office. If you need a birth death, marriage or divorce certificate, there are three ways to request these:
- Online: There is one website that allows for online ordering of these records. You can order directly through VitalCheck.com.
- Mail: Download the proper request form for the certificate that you need and submit it with the required documentation to: Office of Vital Statistics, 275 E. Main St., 1E-A, Frankfort, KY 40621.
- In Person: You may visit the Office of Vital Statistics at: 275 E. Main St., 1E-A, Frankfort, KY 40621 and make a request for the records.
How far back records are available, and relationship requirements depend on the type of record being requested.
- Birth Certificates: Birth Certificates are available statewide from 1911 to present. Only the subject, parent, or legal guardian may request a birth certificate.
- Death Certificates: Death Certificates are available for deaths from 1911 to present. Death certificates are available to relatives or legal representatives of the deceased.
- Marriage Certificates: Marriage certificates are available from June 1958 to present. These can be ordered by anyone.
- Divorce Certificates: Divorce certificates are available from June 1958 to present. These can be ordered by anyone.