NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The state Office of Open Records Counsel has planned to hold a series of hearings this week about a proposal to make taxpayers pay to inspect public records in Tennessee.
Under current law government officials have been able to charge for photocopies of public records, but viewing them has been free. Records custodians have often prohibited citizens from taking pictures or scanning records themselves.
A bill seeking to impose new fees for records searches stalled in the Legislature this year, but sponsors asked the open records office to review potential changes before lawmakers return in January.
The meetings have been scheduled for Knoxville on Tuesday, Nashville on Wednesday, and Jackson on Thursday.
Republican Governor Bill Haslam called open records laws "part of the cost of being a democracy," but said he wants to balance against unreasonable requests.
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