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Senate File 480 breezed through an Iowa Senate State Government Committee vote on Wednesday. The bill, however, was amended.

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The Iowa Standard has detailed a number of incidents the last few years where school districts used their ability to charge for legal review to drive up the cost of open records request. Senate File 480 provides that expenses for a request for examination or copies of public records must be “reasonable.” 

It also provides that fees charged for supervising the examination of and copying of public records by the lawful custodian shall not include charges for legal services for the redaction or review of the public records.

However, Amendment 3097 serves as a strike after amendment. The custodian of the records is to make “every reasonable effort” to produce the records at no cost other than copying if the records take less than 30 minutes to produce. A person may protest the reasonableness of the costs. The amendment also limits the cost of legal services only for redaction of legally protected confidential information, according to Republican Sen. Waylon Brown who managed the bill.

Democrat State Sen. Pam Jochum asked who a person would appeal to when it comes to protesting the cost, but Brown said he wasn’t positive who would hear the appeal. 

Democrat Sen. Tony Bisignano said the issue has been an “ongoing” issue. 

The bill passed the committee unanimously.

Author: Jacob Hall

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