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Gov. Eric Holcomb says 'no' to fee for public records

Posted: 4:59 PM, Apr 24, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-24 20:59:27Z

INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill that would have allowed government agencies to charge up to $20 per hour to fulfill requests for public records that take more than two hours to find.

“While I understand the intent behind the bill to offset the considerable time and expense often devoted to fulfilling public records requests, I view this proposed legislation as contrary to my commitment to providing great government service at a great value for Hoosier taxpayers,” said Gov. Holcomb in a letter to House Speaker Brian Bosma.

Several groups spoke out against Senate Bill 1523, including the Indiana Coalition for Open Government and the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, saying it would make it cost-prohibitive for journalists and concerned citizens to find out what their elected representatives are doing.

Supporters of the legislation maintained public records requests can take an excessive amount of time for government workers.

“Providing access to public records is a key part of the work public servants perform and is important from a government transparency standpoint,” said Holcomb. “I do not support policies that create burdensome obstacles to the public gaining access to public documents.”

Holcomb also noted he supports a provision requiring public agencies to provide electronic copies of public records in electronic format if requested.

“I believe there are steps that can be taken administratively to streamline and improve the process for fulfilling public records requests, and I have charged my office to examine the best ways to provide public transparency and access to public records at the highest possible value to taxpayers,” said Holcomb.