FRANKFORT — State Rep. Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort, withdrew a bill Friday that would have rewritten the Kentucky Open Records Act and would have made electronic copies of public records much more expensive to obtain.
Graham said he killed his bill after hearing complaints from the Kentucky Press Association and others who protested that the proposed change would make it more difficult to use the Open Records Act when reporting on the government's activity.
"I was not trying to do anything that interfered with legitimate news reporting," Graham said.
On Tuesday, Graham filed House Bill 548 to let government agencies charge 10 cents a page for records they keep in a digital format, such as databases or written documents, even if a member of the public requests and receives the record in digital form and no print copies are made.
Some records are the equivalent of thousands of printed pages, putting potential fees in the hundreds of dollars.
Under the Open Records Act, government agencies may not charge the public more than the cost of providing documents. Digital records, which can be copied and sent by email with a few clicks on a keyboard, often are free or cost a few dollars at most.
Graham said he filed the bill at the request of an employee of the state Public Protection Cabinet who spent a lot of time responding to requests from businesses for electronic records.