Think you’ll ever see something like this in Pennsylvania?

The Philadelphia Citypaper reports that the New Jersey Supreme Court lowered fees for copies from 75 cents a page to no more than 7 cents.

One of Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi’s proposed amendments to Pennsylvania’s right-to-know law would have charged people fees just to look at some documents. Pileggi has since he’ll revise his proposed amendments and introduce a new bill next year.

 Open-records advocates would hope he and other legislators note that New Jersey seems to be lowering a barrier to access, while his original proposal was erecting one.

About Scott Blanchard

Sunday editor at the York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.
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2 Responses to Think you’ll ever see something like this in Pennsylvania?

  1. Jo says:

    Yep. PA STILL does not get it!

  2. Fees for copies from local and state agencies are, by law, set by the Office of Open Records, which is charged with conducting “a biannual review of fees.”
    Unfortunately, there is confusion about what the law means by “biannual.” Although the usual meaning of “biannual” is twice a year, it can also mean the same thing as “biennial,” which is every two years. (Obviously, this is something that the law should clarify.)
    In any case, the OOR has interpreted “biannual” to mean every other year, which means they will be reviewing the fees in 2011.
    It is my understanding that the OOR has every intention of lowering the maximum permissable photocopy fee to something in line with what copy centers (Staples, Office Max, etc.) charge, which is currently about 7 cents a page… Like New Jersey.
    As far as the “pay to see records” provision goes, I’m pretty sure that’s not going to fly. Perhaps Sen. Pileggi stuck it in the last revision of his bill simply to get it out there to mollify agencies which have been clamoring for some way to deter “voluminous” requests to access records that take a long time to pull. I think he must have known full well that this provision was something people were going to get outraged over.

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