Reps. Friend, Richardson, and Saunders have introduced HB 1175 which would essentially allow a government agency to charge for a public records request search if the search took more than two hours. The first two hours searching for responsive documents would be free, but after that the political subdivision could charge by the hour at a rate equal to whatever the employee is paid or twenty dollars an hour, whichever is less.
This strikes me as reasonable; but I don’t see anything magical about the two hours or $20. I imagine those terms are negotiable. But, I’ve seen enough kitchen sink public record requests to know that it can put a healthy burden on the government agency. To some extent, that’s just the cost of responsive government; but beyond a certain level, it becomes unfair to other taxpayers who are, in effect, subsidizing sometimes frivolous or unnecessarily burdensome public records requests.