TWO BILLS ADVANCED TO MAKE GOVERNMENT MORE TRANSPARENT, ACCESSIBLE

Two bills sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg and Jeff Van Drew to increase government transparency and access in New Jersey by reducing copy fees for open public records requests and other government documents and requiring public reports and publications produced by the State be made available primarily on the Internet were approved by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on Monday.

The first bill in the package, S-1212, sponsored by Senator Weinberg, would decrease the fees set for copies of documents from government entities. The bill would reduce copy fees to five cents per page of documents printed on letter-sized paper, and seven cents per page of documents printed on legal-sized paper. The new fees would represent a decrease, as the original statute authorized government entities to charge up to 75 cents per page for all documents.

The second bill in the package, S-1217, sponsored by Senators Weinberg and Van Drew, would require that reports and publications produced by State Commissions, authorities and agencies, which are intended to be submitted to the Governor, the Legislature or the public would be made available on the Internet, as opposed to providing printed copies. Individuals without access to the Internet would still be permitted to request a printed copy. Under the bill, six paper copies of all State reports and publications would be made for archival purposes at the State Library, and the report originator would be required to make the State Librarian aware that a report is available on the Internet.

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