CRYAN, CHIVUKULA & GREENSTEIN BILL SETTING UNIFORM FEES FOR PUBLIC DOCUMENTS APPROVED BY ASSEMBLY

(TRENTON) — Legislation Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula and Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein sponsored to set lower and more uniform fees for copies of official state government documents was approved Monday 78 to 0 by the Assembly.

Under current law, document copying fees vary widely, with some state departments and agencies allowed to charge residents seeking information up to $10 per page.

“If private businesses were to have the same copying fees as some state agencies, there’d already be a consumer-protection laws in place,” said Cryan (D-Union). “Government shouldn’t be allowed to charge an arm and a leg, either. There’s no reason to overcharge for public information.”

The bill (A-559) sets the fees for copies of government records under the Open Public Records Act to 5 cents per letter size page or smaller, and 7 cents per legal size page or larger. The bill also provides that access to electronic records and non-printed materials will be provided free of charge, but the public agency may charge for the actual costs of any needed supplies such as computer discs.

“The exorbitant fees some government offices charge act as a deterrent to anyone seeking public information,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset/Middlesex). “It’s plain wrong when high prices can be used to prevent concerned residents from being able to access information.”

“Quite simply, government should not be making huge profits on the sale of public information,” said Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer).

The bill now heads to the Senate.

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