CFOIC letter to The Denver Post in support of open-records bill

Re: “A fair fee for Colorado open records searches,” Feb. 14 editorial.

The Denver Post is right in urging passage of Rep. Joe Salazar’s House Bill 1193 to create a uniform statewide standard for “research and retrieval” fees permitted under the Colorado Open Records Act.

As the editorial notes, governments throughout the state impose a wide range of fees that often serve as a disincentive for members of the public who want to obtain their records under the law.

One correction: The term “nominal fees” has, in fact, been defined by the Colorado Court of Appeals as “trifling especially as compared to what would be expected.” It’s also worth mentioning that fees charged to research and compile records are the combination of two factors: the hourly rate of the employee(s) doing the work and the number of hours it takes. The legislators who originally passed CORA understood that these fees must be “nominal” or “trifling” or else the cost of obtaining public records could thwart the rights of access enshrined in the law.

Because Rep. Salazar’s bill is true to this basic principle, it deserves broad support.

Steven D. Zansberg, Denver

Jeffrey A. Roberts, Denver

Steven D. Zansberg is president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. Jeffrey A. Roberts is the organization’s executive director.

This letter was published in the Feb. 17 edition.

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