Friday, March 29, 2013

242. New Records Bill Stalled...For Now

           It seems that the Indiana House wants to allow public offices to charge up to $20 per hour to search for public documents.  House Bill 1175 is currently stalled in the Senate after passing in the House.
            Agencies can't charge for searches under two hours, according to the bill's language. Sponsor Bill Friend of Macy says state employee ranks have shrunk and information requests take up too much staff time. I would think that many state employees are employed especially to provide records storage and retrieval tasks--the State Archives for instance.
            It occurs to me that, if they digitized a lot more records and put them online, the staffers would not have to search at all. Or is that too obvious? Maybe too simple a solution for state government? Perhaps if all the documents were online and searchable by citizens, we wouldn't need many state employees at all. (Gasp! Could it be that easy?)
            You can read about this situation in detail in the Indianapolis Star, page B3, Wednesday, March 27, and in the lead editorial today.

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