Steamboat Springs As the House sponsor of SB 07-45, I was disappointed in the reaction to the bill by the Routt County Clerk and Recorder and pleased by the editorial response by the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
Sen. McElhany and I introduced SB 45 because Colorado's $1.25 per page copying charge was the highest in the country. The charge, which had been in place for almost 40 years and from an era where copy machines were not as affordable as they are now, didn't represent the current market realities to make copies.
Additionally, recent court actions had clarified that custodians of public records may charge research and retrieval fees when they need to recover a record. When members of the public paid $1.25 per copy -whether research or retrieval to provide a record was necessary - there was cross-subsidization. The cost of $1.25 per page could only be justified in conjunction with the cost of retrieving hard-to-retrieve records. Senate Bill 45 was designed to end subsidization of records and copies by some members of the public. Members of the public will spend no more than 25 cents per copy for copies. When records custodians need to provide additional time to research or retrieve records, they may charge to do so. This system provides a fairer method of apportioning costs.
Ms. Weinland's suggestion that SB 45 was approved without the careful consideration of the Legislature is wrong. It was considered by two different committees in both the Senate and the House, and the concerns she raised in the Aug. 4 edition of the Steamboat Today were not only discussed, but addressed by the General Assembly's decision to let stand the court decision allowing charges for research and retrieval fees.
Public records belong to the public. There is no more important responsibility of Colorado's elected county clerks and recorders than to make those records available to the public. SB 45 was introduced and passed to protect public access to public information.
Colorado State Representative
for House District 3, Denver