Colorado government agencies could charge more for records requests starting next week.
State and local government agencies will be able to up their hourly fees for fulfilling public records requests made under the Colorado Open Records Act starting July 1. Agencies have the option to raise fees based on inflation thanks to House Bill 14-1193, which was signed into law in 2014.
The maximum fees will go from $30 an hour for research and retrieval to $33.58 an hour. The law, however, requires that the first hour of work not be charged.
In order for agencies to raise the fee to the maximum cap, they must first post publicly the current fees.
“In order for a government to charge the new maximum, they would have to update and publish their policies with the new fee amount,” Elizabeth Burger, deputy director of the Legislative Council, told the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFOIC).
The legislation, signed by former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2014, aimed to standardize the fees that state and local government agencies could charge for public records requests under CORA.
The law also requires that agencies be allowed to adjust the rates according to a formula, explained by the Legislative Council, every five years.
Under the $30 maximum rate, “If a records custodian says a request will take 10 hours to fulfill, that’s $270 (nine hours multiplied by $30). A 20-hour request costs $570,” CFOIC said in a statement. “Under the new $33.58 hourly rate, a 20-hour request will cost $638.02.”