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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2016 11:31 AM
From: Representative Thomas P. Murt
To: All House members
Subject: RTKL – Commercial Purpose Fees
Many local municipalities are being inundated with requests for records by companies who seek to use the information to benefit their commercial business enterprises. For example, companies are requesting information regarding homes with septic tanks or pools so they can solicit these homeowners for their services. These voluminous requests are creating a significant cost to municipal offices, which are often staffed by only one or two individuals and sometimes only on a part-time basis and operating on very tight budgets.

I will be introducing legislation that would allow agencies and local governments to assess search and review fees for public records requested for a commercial purpose. This is an issue that has been raised with the state open records office and the director has expressed support for this type of legislation.

Under the bill, search and review fees would be assessed at a per quarter-hour rate determined by each agency to cover the costs associated with time expended by agency employees in fulfilling a request for records to be used for a commercial purpose. The bill would require requestors to disclose on their written request whether the record will be used for a commercial purpose.

This legislation still protects the openness and transparency we intended under the open records law, but also recognizes and seeks to fix some issues that have surfaced since implementation of the law.

Introduced as HB1295