‘Actual cost’ needs better definition in Mississippi’s Open Records Act

Too often, the keepers of public information in Mississippi use the fee provision in the Open Records Act to defy the intent of the act.

For several years, the Legislature has been asked to fix this problem.

This year, with a new crop of state leaders pledged to “transparency,” should be the year more precise wording is sent to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature.

Section 25-61-7 of the act says a “public body may establish and collect fees reasonably calculated to reimburse it for, and in no case to exceed, the actual cost of searching, reviewing and/or duplicating and, if applicable, mailing copies of public records.”