CRYAN, CHIVUKULA & GREENSTEIN LOOK TO SET UNIFORM FEES FOR DOCUMENTS TO HELP IMPROVE PUBLIC ACCESS TO OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS

(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 released Monday by an Assembly panel.

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.”

Under the bill (A-1095), the cost that could be charged to an individual for public records would be 10 cents per page for letter-size copies or 15 cents per page for legal-size copies. The fees would be applicable to documents from the Office of the State Treasurer or the Board of Public Utilities, motor vehicle accident reports and other records available under the Open Public Records Act. Court documents would not be covered.

“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 has been scheduled for Monday vote by the full Assembly.

On the Net:
The Assembly Democratic Office Web site
NJ Assembly Dems on YouTube
NJ Assembly Dems on Vimeo
NJ Assembly Dems on Facebook
NJ Assembly Dems on Twitter
NJ Assembly Dems on Flickr
NJ Assembly Dems e-mail alerts