Title 38
Public Records

Chapter 2
Access to Public Records

R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-4

§ 38-2-4. Cost.

(a) Subject to the provisions of § 38-2-3, a public body must allow copies to be made or provide copies of public records. The cost per copied page of written documents provided to the public shall not exceed fifteen cents ($.15) per page for documents copyable on common business or legal size paper. A public body may not charge more than the reasonable actual cost for providing electronic records or retrieving records from storage where the public body is assessed a retrieval fee.

(b) A reasonable charge may be made for the search or retrieval of documents. Hourly costs for a search and retrieval shall not exceed fifteen dollars ($15.00) per hour and no costs shall be charged for the first hour of a search or retrieval. For the purposes of this subsection, multiple requests from any person or entity to the same public body within a thirty (30) day time period shall be considered one request.

(c) Copies of documents shall be provided and the search and retrieval of documents accomplished within a reasonable time after a request. A public body upon request, shall provide an estimate of the costs of a request for documents prior to providing copies.

(d) Upon request, the public body shall provide a detailed itemization of the costs charged for search and retrieval.

(e) A court may reduce or waive the fees for costs charged for search or retrieval if it determines that the information requested is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

History of Section.
P.L. 1979, ch. 202, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 416, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 263, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 378, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 448, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 454, § 1.