Bill Creating Public Records Search Fee Heads To Governor

Apr 11, 2017

A bill headed to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s desk would allow governments to charge the public up to $20 an hour for public records searches.

If a public records request takes more than two hours to complete, Rep. Kathy Richardson’s (R-Noblesville) bill says the government agency can charge up to $20 an hour for the work.

Former governor Mike Pence vetoed such a bill two years ago.

The Senate made a change to the measure, exempting title records search companies from having to pay the fee.

Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) takes issue with that change and with the fee in general.

“If you’re just a concerned citizen and you want some information that’s going to take a while, you have to pay. Apparently if like you’re an investigative reporter, you’re trying to root [out] corruption or something, you have to pay,” Pierce says. “But if you have an ongoing company that does title searches, you don’t have to pay – even if apparently it does result in people having to go and retrieve documents.”

The Hoosier State Press Association, which in the past has opposed such bills, supported this year’s measure.

After a 63 to 27 vote in the House, the legislation heads to the governor.