Wyoming citizen board refuses to charge public records fee

Despite pressure from state officials, a citizen advisory board of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality refused last week to endorse an agency initiative to charge fees for some public records.

Officials from the DEQ and Wyoming Attorney General’s office implied during a public meeting Friday that the board had no choice but to support the rule, but board members — appointed by the governor — said that mandate conflicted with their role as defenders of the public interest.

Citizen advisory boards for each of the DEQ’s three main divisions — land, water and air quality — must each recommend the adoption of any new agency rule before implementation. That includes a rule being adopted by state government agencies to charge for public records that require significant staff time to compile. While the land and water division advisory boards have lent their support to the rule, the Air Quality Advisory Board declined to do so for the second time on Friday at a meeting in Laramie.

Board members postponed a vote on the rule after first criticizing both the idea of charging for records and the rule-making process, saying they felt pressured to recommend the rule change. Read more…