2009 Regular Session
To: Judiciary, Division B
By: Senator(s) Blount
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 25-61-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE MAXIMUM WAITING PERIOD FOR PRODUCTION OF RECORDS UNDER AN OPEN RECORDS REQUEST; TO AMEND SECTION 25-61-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE COMPUTATION OF "ACTUAL COST" OF COMPLYING WITH AN OPEN RECORDS REQUEST; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 25-61-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-61-5. (1) (a) Except as otherwise provided by Sections 25-61-9 and 25-61-11, all public records are hereby declared to be public property, and any person shall have the right to inspect, copy or mechanically reproduce or obtain a reproduction of any public record of a public body in accordance with reasonable written procedures adopted by the public body concerning the cost, time, place and method of access, and public notice of the procedures shall be given by the public body, or, if a public body has not adopted * * * written procedures, the right to inspect, copy or mechanically reproduce or obtain a reproduction of a public record of the public body shall be provided within one (1) working day after a written request for a public record is made. No public body shall adopt procedures which will authorize the public body to produce or deny production of a public record later than seven (7) working days from the date of the receipt of the request for the production of the record.
(b) If a public body is unable to produce a public record by the seventh working day after the request is made, the public body must provide a written explanation to the person making the request stating that the record requested will be produced and specifying with particularity why the records cannot be produced within the seven-day period. In no event shall the date for the public body's production of the requested records be any later than fourteen (14) working days from the receipt by the public body of the original request.
(2) If any public record contains material which is not exempted under this chapter, the public agency shall redact the exempted and make the nonexempted material available for examination. Such public agency shall be entitled to charge a reasonable fee for the redaction of any exempted material, not to exceed the agency's actual cost.
(3) Denial by a public body of a request for access to or copies of public records under this chapter shall be in writing and shall contain a statement of the specific exemption relied upon by the public body for the denial. Each public body shall maintain a file of all denials of requests for public records. Public bodies shall be required to preserve such denials on file for not less than three (3) years from the date such denials are made. This file shall be made available for inspection * * * or copying or both during regular office hours to any person upon written request.
SECTION 2. Section 25-61-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
25-61-7. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, each public body may establish and collect fees reasonably calculated to reimburse it for, and in no case to exceed, the actual cost of searching, reviewing and/or duplicating and, if applicable, mailing copies of public records. The actual cost shall not include any amount paid to a person or any other entity who is not an employee of the public body unless there is no employee of the public body capable of fulfilling the records request; any staff time included in the computation of the actual cost shall be at the pay scale of the lowest level employee competent to assemble the response to the request or the actual cost of complying with the request if there is no employee of the public body capable of complying with the request. Such fees shall be collected by the public body in advance of complying with the request.
(2) A public body may establish a standard fee scale to reimburse it for the costs of creating, acquiring and maintaining a geographic information system or multipurpose cadastre as authorized and defined under Section 25-61-1 et seq., or any other electronically accessible data. Such fees must be reasonably related to the cost of creating, acquiring and maintaining the geographic information system, multipurpose cadastre or other electronically accessible data, for the data or information contained therein or taken therefrom and for any records, papers, accounts, maps, photographs, films, cards, tapes, recordings or other materials, data or information relating thereto, whether in printed, digital or other format. In determining the fees or charges under this subsection, the public body may consider the type of information requested, the purpose or purposes for which the information has been requested and the commercial value of the information.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2009.