Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed into law a bill that attempts to make public records easier to acquire. House Bill 1041 requires government agencies in Colorado to email, fax or send by traditional mail records that a person does not want to inspect at the records custodian’s office.
The bill, signed by the governor March 8, allows for an agency to charge for postage if records are mailed but states that no transmission fees shall apply if they are emailed.
It also permits fees to be assessed for making paper copies of records and for time spent researching and collecting the information, as already allowed under state law.
Critics of the legislation contend it will only make it more difficult to obtain records by allowing government agencies’ custodians to charge exorbitant fees.
The bill has also drawn fire for stating that records will not be delivered until fees are collected.
The Colorado Press Association supports the legislation, saying that while it’s not perfect, it is a positive change.
“There’s much work to be done with clarification of CORA (Colorado Open Records Act) and fees, but this is a great first step,” a statement on the CPA’s Facebook page says.