Prof. Jane Kirtley Comments on Nebraska Supreme Court Allowing Special Fees for Access to Public Records

Professor Jane Kirtley commented on a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that allows a state government agency to charge nearly $45,000 to a news organization for access to public records on water pollution. The court said state law allows special fees if requests take more than four hours to compile the records. Local groups are concerned that exorbitant fees could be used to keep information from the public. Professor Kirtley said, “While Nebraska law does allow state agencies to recoup reasonable expenses, the spirit of these laws is not for public access to be a cash cow, but to promote public oversight and government accountability. Using crippling fees to discourage requests undermines that goal.”