The House Health and Government Operations Committee, heard testimony regarding HB 755, General Provisions-Public Information Act- Enforcement, Fees and Exemptions on March 11, 2015. In which Les Knapp, MACo Legal and Policy Counsel was present and asked the committee to support the bill with amendments. MACo supports the bill’s goal of increasing access of information; however, several of the suggested changes pose challenges to counties and the State alike.
The written testimony explains:
As introduced, the bill would create a new State Public Information Act Compliance Board to resolve disputes over discretionary denials of information, fees, and denials of a newly created fee waiver. The bill also includes a section requiring a contractor or subcontractor to relinquish public records, mandates new response times, limits when fees may be charged, lessens burden of proof for requestors who take a case to court, and creates new statutory damages.
The suggested amendments should address the legality and practicality of the provisions mentioned in the bill.
The cross file of this bill , SB 695, was heard in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, last week March 6, 2015.
For more on MACo’s 2015 legislation, visit the Legislative Database.