Want to view public records at K-State and KU? It’ll cost you.

If you want to so much as look at public records at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas, be prepared to open your wallet.

K-State’s policy is the charge $25 an hour to merely look at records.

Fees shall be charged for the provision of access to and the copying of public records. Fees for copies shall equal the actual cost of furnishing copies, including the cost of staff time required to make them or supervise the copying, including confidentiality, privilege, and open-closed redaction review. Fees for providing access to computer records shall include the cost of computer services, including staff time required.

In accordance with this provision and the Kansas Open Records Act, K.S.A. 45-215 et seq., fees may be charged for providing access to or furnishing copies of public records. Standard charges include:

Non-Certified Copy

$ .25 per page

Addition for Certified Copy $ 1.25 per page
Addition for Mailing (single letter weight) Postage at Cost
Fax (outgoing only) $ 1.25 per page
Access/Inspection $25.00 per hour
Research/Programming Time & Labor At Cost
Confidentiality/Privilege/ Open-closed Redaction Review $50.00 per hour

KU one-ups K-State, charging $33 an hour for the pleasure of looking at records.

Here’s what KU’s website says (the bold is mine):

Fees shall be charged for the provision of access to and the copying of public records. Fees for copies shall equal the actual cost of furnishing copies, including the cost of staff time required to make them or supervise the copying. Fees for providing access to computer records shall include the cost of computer services, including staff time required.

In accordance with this provision and the Kansas Open Records Act, K.S.A. 45-215 et seq., the following fees may be charged for providing access to or furnishing copies of public records:

  • Photocopies: $.20/page
  • Scanned data: $.25/page
  • Mailing: $1.50
  • Actual Postage Cost
  • Fax: $.80/page
  • CD/Floppy: $1.25/each
  • Access/Inspection Costs (staff): $33/hour
  • Computer Access: $50/hour

A colleague of mine says the price may the cost of inspection on the university’s end. Can anyone shed light on this?

As Early Glynn, reporter for Kansas Watchdog, tweeted,

As Kansas Press Association executive director Doug Anstaett told the Kansas City Press Club yesterday, it takes guts to charge the public for records created for the public. On one hand, I get it. It can take a while to track down records and compile them. On the other hand, charging fees for access to information that is of the public interest – and again, created for the public consumption – can be restrictive. I saw a lot of pushback like this when covered news in Chicago, though I never had to pay for information. I just had to wait months until a government body decided to give me the information…or not.

Luckily, in 2010 the Illinois General Assembly passed an amendment to the state’s open records law, requiring the attorney general’s office to have what is essentially a FOIA advocate on staff. People who are denied FOIA requests can appeal to the advocate, who will make a final determination as to whether the government must hand over the information.

Sometimes government can be a bit prickly in its attempts to be transparent. Mayor Richard M. Daley even created a FOIA log on the City of Chicago’s site (here’s the log for the mayor’s office), under the auspices of showing the public what kind of information is being requested.

What it really did was piss off a bunch of reporters, whose FOIA requests are now out for all – including their competition – to see.

What do you think? Absurd and restrictive, or appropriate, given the work the university must do?

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. Pingback: Kansas City ranks high in government use of social media « MediaKC
  2. Pingback: Kansas Open Records law called obstructive « MediaKC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s