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The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wash. legislation could lead to higher FOI fees

The Seattle Times suggests that local governments forget about trying to raise fees for FOI requests and start searching for innovative, cheaper ways to fill requests, such as via e-mail or CD. A bunch of bills introduced would increase the maximum per-page copying charge from 15 to 25 cents, among other tactics that would discourage someone from submitting a request.

Munipal governments are so emboldened by court victories that help keep their secrets, they are getting even more creative about ways to discourage the public from getting documents to which they are entitled.

The common objective of a trio of bills introduced by Sen. Darlene Fairley, D-Shoreline, is to boost the costs of getting copies of public documents — a move sure to discourage people with the right to keep tabs on their government.

This effort in blue Washington is especially ironic considering one of President Obama's first acts as president was to direct his agencies to open government records under the Freedom of Information Act — and to use technology to make documents more accessible, more quickly and cheaply.

More here.

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