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Senate measure would allow higher fees for records

SANTA FE — A proposal in the Senate would allow government agencies to charge more for the release of public records.

Senate Bill 442, sponsored by Sen. John Sapien, D-Corrales, would allow fees of up to $1 a page for electronic records.

The law now limits such charges to the “actual cost” of putting information on a disk or storage device. The agency, for example, may charge for the cost of the disk or device.

Transparency advocates said the Senate proposal could make it more difficult for people to obtain records they’re entitled to, even when the information is easy to share.

“If a requestor were to ask for a 100-page PDF record, the governmental entity could provide that with a few clicks of a mouse,” Melanie J. Majors, executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, said in a written statement. “Under this bill, the entity could charge up to $100 for that service. This bill would make it much more difficult for New Mexicans to hold their government accountable.”

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