How much do public records cost?
|1. Select a state|
Alabama • Alaska • Arizona
Arkansas • California • Colorado
Connecticut • Delaware • Florida
Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho
Illinois • Indiana • Iowa
Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana
Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts
Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi
Missouri • Montana • Nebraska
Nevada • New Hampshire
New Mexico • New Jersey
New York • North Carolina
North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma
Oregon • Pennsylvania • Rhode Island
South Carolina • South Dakota
Tennessee • Texas • Utah
Vermont • Virginia • Washington
West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming
|2. See also|
Many states have a fee limit for how can be charged to provide public records to requesters. Here is a list of fees charged by state:
The fee structures are left to the discretion of the public records official within the department from which the records are requested.
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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The fee for duplication of public records, according to law, cannot exceed the "standard unit cost of duplication established by the public agency." Public agencies are at liberty to waive fees in the public interest. 
Arizona statute allows for the charging of reasonable fees for publication, mailing and search expenses. Exceptions to fees include records that are meant to be used in a claim against the federal government concerning "pension, allotment, allowance, compensation, insurance or other benefits" . Also, victims to criminal offenses or family members of incapacitated or deceased victims can request one copy of the police record for free. 
Fees for FOIA requests in Arkansas can include any costs associated with publication and reproduction but cannot include fees associated with the payment of personal. The department may require the fee to be prepaid if the cost is over $25. Fees can be waived on an individual basis if the records are requested for the public interest and not for commercial purposes.
The CPRA allows government agencies to charge "fees covering direct costs of duplication, or a statutory fee if applicable."
- If a specific statute defines a specific fee for a certain type of record, that takes precedence over CPRA.
- In 1994, a California court defined "direct costs" to include photocopying costs only.
- For electronic data, "direct cost" is the cost of producing "a copy of a record in an electronic format."
- ↑ North County Parents Organization v. Department of Education
Colorado law permits charging fees for both duplication and search costs. Fees may be waved if the records are being used for public service.
Connecticut allows for charging fees which include duplication fees . Fees may be exempted if it is deemed that the person making the request cannot afford them, if the request is made in the interest of the general welfare or if the person making the request is an elected public official requesting the information on behalf of his office (Connecticut FOIA 1-212.d).
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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The Delaware law permits "reasonable" fees to be charged for copies of public records but does not elaborate on what factors can be included in the fee. However, in 2011, Governor Markell issued an executive order capping copying fees for public records requests at 10 cents a page with the first 20 pages free, thus effectively limiting the ammount agencies can charge for public documents. 
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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A government agency may charge fees for records requested under the act:
- A copying fee may be charged. It should be limited to the actual copying cost, except in cases where the law sets a specific fee. In addition, if there is no specific law regarding fees, the records office may charge up to 15 cents per one-sided copy for duplicated copies of not more than legal size paper. They may charge no more than an additional 5 cents for each two-sided copy and the actual cost of duplication of the public record for all other copies.
- The "actual cost of duplication" is defined. Section 119.07(1)(a) says that it means "the cost of materials and supplies used to duplicate the record but it does not include the labor costs or overhead costs associated with such duplication."
- Generally, the fee should not exceed 15 cents for copies, if the copies are 8.5 x 14 inches or less.
- The state's attorney general said in an opinion that "providing access to public records is a statutory duty imposed upon all record custodians and should not be considered a revenue-generating operation."
Public bodies in Georgia may charge for the cost of publication and duplication when complying with public records requests. The fee must be uniform for photo copies of records and cannot exceed $0.25 per page.  The law does require that a public body notify requestors of the total cost of complying with a request prior to assembling the records as a condition for charging fees. 
Hawaiian law does not outline details about copy fees, but requires agencies to provide facilities for duplication and memorandum creation. The act implies that agencies may charge for the cost of duplication. Pre-payment of fees may be required for:
- 50% of the fees associated with the search and preparation of records.
- 100% of other fees, including copy fees.
- 100% of fees owed for past requests. 
Fees can include duplication costs whether paper or digital. 
Government agencies are allowed to set fees that are "reasonably calculated to reimburse its actual cost for reproducing and certifying public records and for the use, by any person, of the equipment of the public body to copy records."
The governing statute is 5 ILCS 140/6, from Ch. 116, par. 206. Also:
- The fees "shall not exceed the actual cost of reproduction and certification, unless otherwise provided by State statute."
- "Such fees shall be imposed according to a standard scale of fees, established and made public by the body imposing them."
- The law doesn't say anything about whether fees must be paid in advance, leaving specific agencies free to set their own policies with regard to the timing of payments.
- If any agency is found to have purposefully imposed a fee that is inconsistent with the law, this imposition is to be considered a denial of the request for purposes of judicial review.
Fees can be ascribed strictly based on duplication and are at the discretion of the department.
KORA allows for the charging of reasonable fees which can include the cost of duplication, staff time spent supervising the copying as well as fees for computer maintenance. Any fees that come out to less than $.25 a page are deemed reasonable, however larger fees may be deemed reasonable in certain situations.
For non-commercial requests the department may charge a fee for the cost of the material and equipment involved with duplication but may not charge for the staff time needed for duplication. 
No fee is charged to view public records as long as they ask to view the records during normal office hours. Custodians of records are allowed to charge a "reasonable fee" to requestors who ask to view records outside of normal office hours.
Fees for copies of records are established by the custodian and must be "reasonable." Also:
- Indigent persons who are state residents may be provided copies of records without charge or at a reduced charge.
- If the custodian determines that copies of public documents will be used only for a "public purpose", the custodian may furnish them without charge or at a reduced charge. An example of a "public purpose" is the use of the records in a hearing before a governmental regulatory commission.
- Two state appellate courts have reached opposite conclusions as to whether courts have the discretion to order that documents be provided to an inmate without charge or at a reduced charge. State of Louisiana v. Jean, 2003, said a court has discretion to order that copies be provided at no cost. Diggs v. Pennington, 2003, said a lower trial court did not err when it said it lacked the power to compel a state agency to provide a free report to an inmate.
The Maine FAA allows for the charging of fees for both copying and duplication. Any costs estimated over $100 must be paid in advance. Fees may be waived if the request is made on behalf of the public good or if the person requesting lacks the money to pay the fees. Agencies may not charge fees to inspect public records. 
The Maryland law allows departments to charge a reasonable fee for the cost of duplication. Waivers are permitted considering the person requesting the documents financial status and the public interest in the release of the information. 
Reasonable fees for records may include the actual cost of duplication. 
Michigan law allows for charging fees which include the actual cost of duplication, mailing and other costs. Waivers may be issued if the search is for the public interest or for fees under $20 if the requestor can prove his or her inability to pay for the records. However, fees may not be charged for the separation of exempt from non-exempt material unless failure to charge would result in a high cost for the public body. 
While the law indicates that there shall be no fees for inspection of records, it allows for the charging of fees when someone requests a copy of the records. These fees can include the cost of duplication. However, if the records are intended for commercial purposes an additional fee may be charged. 
Mississippi law allows for the charging of fees to include the physical cost of duplication. 
Missouri law allows for charging of fees which include the cost of duplication, which is not to exceed $.10 per page. Partial or whole waivers may be granted if the records are deemed to be in the public interest. 
Montana law allows the secretary of state to set the fee level and allows him or her to charge for both "filing and copying".  For electronic fees, Montana expands the potential for fees by charging for the use of equipment, the maintenance of databases, the means of duplication, and hourly labor after the first half hour.
Nebraska law only permits fees charged for the actual material cost of duplication including the medium and fees for the maintenance of equipment.  However, a waiver does exist for any member of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Nevada law allows the charging of fees not to exceed the actual cost of producing the record but does not elaborate on what factors are a part of that fee. However, in cases of "extraordinary use of personnel" additional fees may be charged.  All fees must be posted in a conspicuous place in all governmental offices.  An additional fee is charged for the transcripts of court reports and is remitted to the court reporter. Additional fees are also charged for information from any "geographic information system" that are meant to offset the cost of maintaining and supporting the system. The Department of Veterans' Affairs is exempt from any fees. 
According to New Jersey law fees for records, in general, may only include the physical cost of the means of duplication. However, when the request involves an "extraordinary expenditure of time and effort" an additional fee may be charged.  Gov. Christie recently signed into law a bill that allows the state to only charge $0.05 for letter sized documents and $0.07 for legally sized documents. Prior to the law, the state could charge as much as $0.75 per document.
The law allows for the charging of a reasonable fee not to exceed $1 a page to cover the cost of duplication. 
The FOIL law says:
- The fee for copies is not to exceed $.25 per photocopy, if the copies are on paper that is 9x14 inches in dimension or less
- For other copies, the fee is not to exceed the agency's actual reproduction costs.
- In cases where a state statute sets a specific fee for a specific type of record, that statute governs what can be charged.
- Fees for copies of audio and audio-visual records are not to exceed the actual costs for reproduction, unless allowed by law. Agencies cannot charge for staff time involved in reproduction, according to a 1978 court ruling.
North Carolina establishes two different types of records with two different fees. For un-certified copies, the department may charge only the actual cost of duplication not including the labor involved. The law indicates that fees for certified copies will be as indicated by law but does not indicate what law. 
North Dakota statute allows for the charging of fees which include the cost of duplication, labor and use of equipment. 
Ohio law allows for individuals to choose the method and medium in which they would like to receive their requested record. The department can charge fees to cover the cost of producing the record based on their request.
For records made by an individual for non-commercial purposes, fees may only be charged for the cost of duplication of the records. The cost of copying is capped at $0.25 per page for non-certified records and $1.00 for certified records.
A fee "reasonably calculated to reimburse" may be charged, but no more than the actual cost to the agency.
- The burden of proof of establishing that specific charges are reasonable and actual is up to the custodian of the records. The custodian must be able to support that the charges are reasonable with specific supporting data.
- If the fee will exceed $25, a government agency must first provide an estimate of the fee and confirm that the requester wants to move ahead with the request.
In general, the fee structure proposed by Terry Mutchler of the OOR allows for a copying fee of $0.25 per page for executive, county, municipal and school district records. The judicial branch currently charges $1.00 per page for copies and the legislative branch charges $0.50 per page. 
Rhode Island law allows the charging of fees which can include the cost of duplication. 
South Carolina law allows for the charging of fees to include the cost of duplication. 
Fees structures are typically left to the disretion of the agency in question. While the act is silent as to fees, certain AG opinions have enforced the notion that reasonable fees can be charged for the duplication of documents. Fees can also include the cost of the equipment required to transfer records across the internet and between various mediums.
The TPIA allows a government agency to charge for "all costs" associated with making copies of public information, including:
- The cost of materials.
- Labor. (See also: Sunshine laws and search fees.)
- Overhead costs.
- Agencies can charge for the cost they incur in deleting information from the records that is exempt.
- If a particular request is for 50 or fewer pages of paper records, the agency is not allowed to charge for labor and overhead but is limited to charging a reasonable per-copy fee. (There's an additional fee that can be added if the agency has to collect the records from more than one building, or if the records or in "a remote storage facility."
GRAMA allows for the charging of fees based on the discretion of the department from which the record is requested and can include the cost of duplication. 
Vermont law allows fees to be charged for the cost of copying. 
Virginia allows fees to be charged for not only the cost of duplication but also the cost of search and maintenance of equipment and databases. However, advanced payment is only required of requests that will cost $200 or more. 
Washington allows to charging of fees for duplication not to exceed $.15 per page. 
West Virginia law allows for the charging of fees to reimburse the department for the cost of making the records but does not specify what factors affect those fees. 
Wisconsin law allows for fees to be charged to cover the cost of the duplication of public records. Waivers are allowed, only if the material requested is in the public interest.
Wyoming law allows fees to be charged for the cost of duplication . 
- State sunshine laws
- Years that state FOIA laws were enacted
- List of who can make public record requests by state