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Obtaining fee waivers for open-records requests may be more likely under a bill that the Utah House passed Thursday.

Representatives approved HB63 on a 68-2 vote and sent it to the Senate.

Its sponsor, House Democratic Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said Utah's open-records laws now allow and encourage state and local agencies to waive fees for requests if they determine them to be in the public interest

"But they often don't waive it," he said, and some may charge high fees in an attempt to keep some records away from the public. His bill allows the State Records Committee to review whether a fee waiver is in the public interest, and not merely rely on the earlier decision of a state agency.

With such a review available, he said it would make it more likely to have fee waivers approved both initially and possibly on appeal.

— Lee Davidson