Big costs to see public documents hinder access

The public's right to see government records is coming at an ever-increasing price as authorities set fees and hourly charges that often prevent information from flowing.

Though some states have taken steps to limit the fees, many have not:

• In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback's office told The Wichita Eagle that it would have to pay $1,235 to obtain records of e-mail and phone conversations between his office and a former chief of staff who is now a prominent statehouse lobbyist.Mississippi law allows the state to charge hourly for research, redaction and labor, including $15 an hour simply to have a state employee watch a reporter or private citizen review documents. Continue>>>