At the capital: SB28 would severely limit the public’s access to government records
Read enough bills in Carson City, and you’ll get the sense that local governments would prefer that you pay your taxes, sit down and shut up.
Hi, I’m Victor Joecks with the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
SB28, which is going to be heard on Wednesday, March 4 at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Government Affairs, exemplifies this mindset. Introduced by the Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities, SB28 would allow government entities to charge public-record requesters for "extraordinary use of personnel or technology."
That’s sounds reasonable right? But here’s how SB28 would define “extraordinary use.”
First, if a record takes more than 30 minutes to compile, this bill would allow local governments to charge citizens for staff time.
Second, if the requested document is more than 25 pages, Nevada governments could charge up to 50 cent a page. This bill would even allow governments to charge this fee if the records are delivered electronically.
You heard that right. Under SB28, if a government agency sends you an email with an attachment that – if it was printed out – would be more than 25 pages, they can charge you 50 cents a page for the electronic document.
SB28 would discourage citizens from receiving information government officials don’t want them to see, while letting government officials freely distribute information they want released. This is completely backwards, because government exists to serve the people of Nevada and all public records should be made more, not less, accessible to the public.
Providing public records is one of the primary responsibilities of government, not a chore that governments should be able to avoid with excessive fees.
If you’d like to contact the members of Senate Government Affairs, committee member information is here.
Sen. Pete Goicoechea, Chair: Pete.Goicoechea@sen.state.nv.us, 775-237-5300
Sen. Joseph (Joe) P. Hardy, Vice Chair: Joe.Hardy@sen.state.nv.us, 702-293-7506
Sen. Mark Lipparelli: Mark.Lipparelli@sen.state.nv.us, 775-684-1475
Sen. David R. Parks, David.Parks@sen.state.nv.us, 702-736-6929
Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, Kelvin.Atkinson@sen.state.nv.us, 702-457-9995
Victor Joecks is Executive Vice President at the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a non-partisan, free market think tank.