To establish statewide standards for the costs a government body may charge to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act open records request. Among other things the bill would prohibit charging more than the wages (not including benefits) of the lowest paid employee capable of meeting the request (or of deleting information exempt from disclosure), whether or not that person does the actual work. If the exempt information deletion work were done by a contract employee, the charge for the person’s time could not be greater than six times the state minimum wage. “Overhead” or overtime costs could not be included in the charges.
The charge for standard size copies could not exceed 10 cents per page, periodically adjusted for inflation, and the amount charged for the person making the copies (paper or electronic) could not exceed three times the state minimum wage. A government body could choose to provide bulky information in electronic format (on CD), and if the requested information is on its website could just reference this in its reply. FOIA requestors would have to be given an itemized list of the costs, and a government body's procedures, guidelines and fees would have to be posted on its website (if it has one). The penalty for wrongfully denying a request would increase from $500 to $2,000 (and up to $7,500 if this is “willful and intentional”), and $1,000 for charging excessive fees (as determined by a judicial appeal process the bill would authorize)..