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City pulls open records reform from agenda

Woodbury City Hall. File photo

WOODBURY — The ability to get data in Woodbury will remain unchanged in 2018.

During Wednesday's City Council workshop meeting, Woodbury Mayor Mary Guliani Stephens said the city will remove the portion of its legislative agenda pertaining to reforming open records laws.

PREVIOUSLY: Woodbury proposes fees for public data inspection

"It ended up having more confusion than it solved," Stephens said. "So I'm just recommending we remove (the item) from the legislative initiative for the 2018 agenda."

On Jan. 24, the City Council approved a list of initiatives that included proposals to allow fees for public data inspection. Another item on the initiative list was to broaden the scope of information agencies may request about data inquiries in order to narrow searches.

The move brought praise from Public Record Media, an advocacy group for open records and government transparency. Hosting a public data workshop at the R.H. Stafford Library on Thursday night, Matt Ehling, the group's executive directory, expressed his satisfaction with the data practices reform being pulled from the legislative agenda.

"For all the data practices advocates, we're happy to see that item get pulled off," Ehling said. "There's been free inspection in this state for 40 years now and we'd like to see that continue. Some of us — like our organization — we have some resources to be able to pay copy costs and we do pay copy costs because we think that's fair. There's other people that don't have economic resources and they still deserve to see government information. That's why the free inspection exists."

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