950 CMR 32.07 - Copies of Records; Fees

(1) Copies of Paper and Electronic Records.
(a) upon request, a requester shall be entitled to receive in hand, by mail, by facsimile or electronically one copy of a public record or any desired portion of a public record.
(b) as an alternative to obtaining copies of records from a records access officer a requester shall be permitted, to the extent feasible, and at reasonable times:
1. view and inspect records; or
2. use a personal device such as a camera or portable scanner to copy records.
(c) the records access officer shall presume that a requester prefers copies provided in machine-readable electronic form, when electronic form is available, unless the requester specifies an alternative preference.
(d) the records access officer must provide electronic records in native form when possible.
(e) when designing or acquiring an electronic record keeping system or database, the records access officer, in cooperation, with the custodian shall ensure, to the extent feasible that:
1. newly acquired or implemented electronic record keeping systems or databases are capable of providing data in a commonly available electronic, machine readable format; and
2. the newly acquired or implemented electronic record keeping system allows for information storage and retrieval methods permitting retrieval of public portions of records to provide maximum public access.
(f) furnishing a segregable portion of a public record shall not be deemed to be creation of a new record. This applies to a responsive record in the form of an extract of existing data, as such data exists at the time of the request and is segregable from nonresponsive and exempt data.
(2) Fees.
(a) a records access officer may assess a reasonable fee for the production of a public record, except those records that are freely available for public inspection, subject to the provisions of 950 CMR 32.04(5)(d). A records access officer shall inform a requester of the availability of records online to avoid delays and fees associated with the provision of public records.
(b) if fees are being assessed, a records access officer shall provide a written, itemized, good faith estimate of any fees that may be charged to produce the records prior to complying with a public records request within ten business days following receipt of a request.
(c) the reasonable fee for reproduction shall not exceed the actual cost of reproducing the record.
(d) a fee shall not be assessed for time spent segregating or redacting records, unless such segregation or redaction is required by law or approved by the Supervisor under 950 CMR 32.06(4)(g) and (h).
(e) the charge for black and white paper copies or printouts of records of any size susceptible to ordinary means of production shall not exceed $0.05 per page, for both single and double-sided black and white copies or printouts.
(f) a records access officer shall not assess a copying fee for electronic copies or copies of public records transmitted via facsimile.
(g) the actual cost of any storage device or material provided to a person in response to a request for public records may be included as part of the fee.
(h) for copies of public records not susceptible to ordinary means of reproduction, the actual cost incurred in providing a copy may be assessed.
(i) a records access officer shall assess no fee greater than the lowest hourly rate of a person capable of compiling, segregating, redacting and reproducing a requested record, subject to the requirements of 950 CMR 32.07.
(j) a records access officer may assess the actual cost of postage to mail copies of public records, provided:
1. the requester specifically requests that records be mailed or is unable to receive copies in person; and
2. the records access officer shall charge the lowest cost available for such mailings, at the discretion of the requester.
(k) Waiver of Fees. Records access officers may waive or reduce the amount of any assessed fee upon a showing that:
1. disclosure of a requested record is in the public interest;
2. the request for records is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester; or
3. the requester lacks the financial ability to pay the full amount of the reasonable fee.
(l) Agency Records Access Officers.
1. an agency records access officer shall not assess a fee for the first four hours of time spent searching for, compiling, segregating, redacting and reproducing a requested record.
2. an agency records access officer shall not assess a fee for time spent segregating and redacting a requested record, unless such segregation or redaction is required by law or approved by the Supervisor under 950 CMR 32.06(4)(g) and (h).
3. an agency records access officer shall assess no fee of more than $25 per hour for the cost to comply with a request for public records.
(m) Municipal Records Access Officers.
1. a municipal records access officer shall not assess a fee for the first two hours of time spent searching for, compiling, segregating, redacting and reproducing a requested record in a municipality with a population of over 20,000.
2. a municipal records access officer in a municipality with a population of 20,000 persons or fewer may assess a fee for the first two hours of time spent compiling, segregating, redacting and reproducing a requested record, provided:
i. population data shall be determined by the decennial U.S. Census; and
ii. it shall be the burden of the municipal records access officer to provide population data information in responses in which it seeks to assess such fees.
3. a municipal records access officer shall assess no fee of more than $25 per hour for the cost to comply with a request for public records, unless approved by the Supervisor under 950 CMR 32.06(4)(g) and (h).
4. a municipal records access officer shall not assess a fee for time spent segregating and redacting a requested record, unless such segregation or redaction is required by law or approved by the Supervisor under 950 CMR 32.06(4)(g) and (h).
(n) Failure to Pay Fee. A records access officer may provide written notice denying access to public records to a requester who has failed to compensate the custodian for previously produced public records, provided:
1. a fee estimate for a previous request was prepared in compliance with 950 CMR 32.00 and the requester agreed to pay the previous fee;
2. the written notice details the reasons for denial, including an itemized list of any balances attributed to previously produced records.

Notes

950 CMR 32.07
Amended by Mass Register Issue 1314, eff. 2/29/2016. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1328, eff. 1/1/2017. Amended by Mass Register Issue 1445, eff. 6/11/2021.

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