In a six-minute video, First Amendment attorney and CFOIC President Steve Zansberg explains what you need to know about the new CORA fees law and what to do if you think you’re being charged too much for public records.
At least two government entities, the city of Aurora and the state Independent Ethics Commission, have changed their open-records policies in advance of a new law, capping research-and-retrieval charges, that goes into effect July 1.
Fees for public records, protecting the confidential sources of journalists, the Open Meetings Law. These weren’t the topics that grabbed the biggest headlines during the during the 2014 legislative session. But that doesn’t diminish their importance.
Signing the CORA reform bill, standardizing fees that governments in Colorado can charge to fill public records requests, Gov. John Hickenlooper cited President Teddy Roosevelt’s fondness for many of the muckraking journalists of his era.
The House re-passed HB 14-1193, sending it to Gov. John Hickenlooper. If it becomes law, the Colorado Open Records Act will specify research-fee parameters for the first time since it was enacted in 1969.
On a 56-8 vote, the Colorado House rejected Senate amendments to a bill that regulates how much the state and local governments can charge to research and compile public records.
A bill that caps research-and-retrieval fees for public records at $30 per hour passed the Colorado Senate with an amendment requiring that costs be the same for everyone.
A revised version of the mug shot bill won initial approval in the Colorado Senate, while state senators also gave a preliminary nod to amended legislation on open-records fees.
An amendment to HB 14-1193 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.
An amendment to be proposed caps the hourly rate at $25 for researching and compiling public records, with the maximum rate adjusted for inflation every five years. More significantly, the first two hours would be free.