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Published on Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Senate votes out both AWC priority public records bills

HB 1594 and HB 1595 have both been voted out by the Senate. The bills were amended by the Senate so they now must head back to the House for concurrence. If the House concurs with the changes, the bills will then go to the Governor’s Office.  

HB 1595 was modified slightly in the Senate, but remains mostly unchanged from the version that passed the House. The floor debate on the bill can be found here: EHB 1595 Senate Floor Debate. The bill does the following:

  • Amends the PRA to allow cities to charge a small fee for providing copies of electronic records. A city may establish different fees by conducting its own cost study but the default charges in the bill are as follows:
  • 10 cents per scanned page
  • 5 cents per 4 files or attachments
  • 10 cents per gigabyte
  • These charges may be applied cumulatively
  • Allows an agency to charge a flat fee of $2 for providing copies when the estimated costs are expected to be $2 or more.
  • Creates the ability for cities to deny overwhelming computer generated “bot” requests.
  • Prohibits overly broad requests for all of a city’s records.
  • Creates a way for cities to apply a service charge to exceptionally complex requests.

HB 1594 was amended more significantly by the Senate and includes the following:

  • Requires training for records officers to address issues of retention, production and disclosure of electronic records.
  • Creates a grant program within the Office of the Secretary of State for local governments to improve their public record management systems.
  • Establishes a program within the Office of the Attorney General and the State Archives to consult with local governments on public records best practices.
  • Provides for a $1 document recording fee to fund the consultation and grant programs.
  • The funding and the programs will sunset in 2020.
  • Updates the process for asking a requestor to clarify a request.
  • Requires agencies to maintain a log of each records request.
  • Requires agencies with actual budgeted public records costs over $100,000 to report certain performance measurements to JLARC.
Categories: Open government