Open records act bill ready for governor’s signature

DENVER – A bill to limit excessive fees charged by state and local governments for records requests is headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk.

House bill 1193, introduced by Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, and Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, would reduce the hourly fee for research and record retrieval under the Colorado Open Records Act to a maximum of $30. The bill also requires the first hour of fulfilling a records request to be free.

The records act is the state law that makes most state government records available to the public. Supporters say that some local governments charge exorbitant fees for public records.

Kefalas is confident that Hickenlooper will sign the bill into law.

“It creates certainty for the citizen,” Kefalas said. “It improves transparency.”

The bill also would require governments to post policies and fee rates online.

The measure has the support of the Colorado Press Association, Colorado Ethics Watch and Colorado Broadcasters Association.

The measure has a “minimal” financial impact on the state revenue and spending, according to bill’s fiscal note.

It passed the state House on Feb. 24 and the state Senate on March 25.

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