Bill could reduce cost of getting public records

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — A bill that passed the Mississippi Senate on Wednesday could reduce the cost for the general public to get copies of government documents.

Senate Bill 2066 says requests for public records must be handled by the lowest-paid government employee who is qualified to do so.

The proposed change is intended to stop agencies from using attorneys or other high-paid employees to pull and copy records such as budget documents or minutes of city council meetings.

Senators removed parts of the bill that said governments would have to make public records available in electronic format. Democratic Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory led the effort to remove that requirement, saying he doesn’t want to force local governments to buy additional computer equipment or programs.

The bill moves to the House.