Open Records? For a Price, in Nevada

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – Nevada lawmakers want to charge 50 cents a page for public documents, plus staffers’ time, for anything longer than 25 pages or anything that would take a state worker more than half an hour to provide.
     Testimony on Senate Bill 28 , filed “On Behalf of the Nevada League of Cities and Municipalities,” was heard in the Senate Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
     Supporters of the bill – all from the League of Cities or government agencies – said the bill would “clarify” language in the public records law.
     Media organizations and government watchdogs, not surprisingly, oppose the bill.
     The League’s lobbyist, Wes Henderson, drew laughs when he acknowledged that the Las Vegas Review-Journal called it the worst bill of the legislative session. Henderson told the committee he would have brought a copy of the editorial, but he would have had to pay for it.
     In its report on the committee hearing, the Review-Journal helpfully noted: “He didn’t mention that the editorial is available free of charge at reviewjournal.com.”
     The bill describes the provision of more than 25 pages, or use of more than 30 minutes of a state worker’s time, as an “extraordinary effort.”
     Barry Smith, executive director of the Nevada Press Association, told the Review-Journal: “Copying 25 pages is an extraordinary effort? If I were a government employee, I’d be rather insulted by that definition.”
     Prospects of the bill are uncertain.

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