Cost Of Obtaining Public Records In Arizona May Increase

February 20, 2014

(Photo courtesy of the Arizona State Legislature)
Rep. David W. Stevens wants the first four hours to be free.

The cost of obtaining public records could be headed up in Arizona. Right now, public agencies can only charge for actual copies, but a proposal approved by the House Committee on Technology would allow the agencies to charge an hourly fee to find and produce the documents. But, Rep. David Stevens said he does not want to burden people, so the first four hours would be free. Beyond that, you would have to pay the hourly wages of the personnel involved.

“It allows anybody who wants records to get it, but the ones that take a long time, there's a cost to get those records, and now the cities, town and counties and agencies are bearing that cost. Maybe it's time realize that the people requesting should bear some of it," said Stevens.

The bill is drawing fire from Dan Barr, attorney for the First Amendment coalition, who said there are ways to deal with abuse of the public records laws that do not involve financial roadblocks for everybody else with a complex request.