Bills raise public records issues on costs, expunction

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By Robert Nott
The New Mexican

State Sen. John Sapien says he wants the general public to bear a greater share of the cost for public records.

Sapien, D-Corrales, has introduced a bill that would require people to pay up to a dollar per page for electronic copies of these documents.

"It's not nefarious," he said of his Senate Bill 442. "The reality is public records cost money, and the time and energy put into putting together an electronic copy of a request is the same as a print copy."

Sapien said his proposal is not a step away from transparency.

Melanie Majors, executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, disagrees.

"Agencies should never attempt to prevent access to public records by charging excessive fees," Majors said.

The state Attorney General's Office last September issued an opinion that said the University of New Mexico violated the state's Open Records Act when it charged a fee of $586.60 for an electronic public record.

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