CORA bill passes Senate committee with amendment to cap fees

By Samantha Johnston
Colorado Press Association Executive Director

HB 14-1193 passed the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee 5-0 today with an amendment capping research and retrieval fees.

As passed in the House last month, HB-1193 allowed a maximum hourly fee of four times minimum wage (currently $8 per hour). Today’s amendment removes the minimum wage requirement and instead caps research and retrieval fees at $30 per hour with a requirement that the first hour be provided for free.

The bill also prohibits governments and agencies from charging for public records without first publishing their fee policies on the Internet or in some other form.

As explained in a previous post, CORA currently says nothing about how much state and local government agencies can charge for public records that are not criminal-justice records, and fees can vary significantly among jurisdictions. HB-1193 seeks to clarify and quantify those fees.

Before the vote on the bill, Committee Chair Jessie Ulibarri, D-Adams County, relayed to bill sponsor Sen. John Kefalas that the Governor’s Office requested the bill be delayed to allow time for further discussion. Sen. Kefalas said that the Governor’s Office hadn’t raised any concerns about the amended bill until 20 minutes before the hearing and he requested that the bill move forward as scheduled. Sen. Kefalas promised to reach out to the Governor’s Office for further discussion and stated that he was open to meeting with any interested party about the bill.

The bill will next be scheduled before the Senate as a whole.

Note: The board of directors of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition voted to support HB 14-1193 in the version as introduced.

Follow the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition on Twitter @CoFOIC. Like CFOIC’s Facebook page. Visit CFOIC’s legislature page to track bills in the General Assembly that could affect the flow or availability of information in Colorado.

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