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Commentary and Analysis Regarding Colorado Law

Colorado Open Records Act

Submitted by Blair M. Dickhoner

On May 2, 2014, Governor Hickenlooper signed HB 14-1193 into law.  This legislation was passed in response to recent court decisions holding that “reasonable” fees could be charged for research and retrieval time spent in response to an open records request.  While the courts stated that such fees are permissible, they did not define the amount of a “reasonable” fee.  This new law, which becomes effective July 1, 2014, requires that if a special district is going to charge a fee for research and retrieval time it must have an open records policy in place that has been posted to the records custodian’s website or otherwise published prior to receiving the request.  This policy must contain the procedures for requesting and obtaining open records and it must specify the amount of the research and retrieval fee which the legislature determined should not be greater than $30.00 per hour.  Additionally, special districts may not charge at all for the first hour devoted to research and retrieval of records.

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