HB606 was voted ought to pass with amendment 14-4 by the House Judiciary Committee this week. This bill clarifies that no fees may be charged to inspect records online. The committee amendment adds the word “paper” before “copy” in the third sentence of the paragraph, and then adds two new sentences. Here are the full amended sentences:
If a computer, photocopying machine, or other device maintained for use by a public body or agency is used by the public body or agency to copy the governmental record requested, the person requesting the copy may be charged the actual cost of providing the paper copy, which cost may be collected by the public body or agency. No fee shall be charged for records online. No fee shall be charged to make such governmental record available for inspection and no fee shall be charged for inspection of such record.
The report on the bill from the committee majority was written by Rep. Michael J. Sylvia:
The people’s right to access governmental records is an important function of RSA 91-A. Maintaining transparency of government is one of our constitutional duties. HB 606 incorporates similar concepts which were presented in three bills all addressing access to governmental records under RSA 91-A:4 IV; HB 606, HB 138 and HB 656. All three sought to make clear that there should be no fee charged for the inspection of records made available under 91-A. HB 606 as amended, also includes access to online records without a charge.
The report from the committee minority was written by Rep. Charlene F. Takesian:
This bill was originally submitted to allow for a fee for actual costs to send information electronically. The committee had several bills submitted that dealt with costs of public records and attempted to combine them into one bill. However, in the process the fee to charge for electronic transmission was omitted. The minority believed that the original intent of the bill should have been honored.
This bill now goes to the full House for a vote.