State improves information access processUPDATED 10:43 PM HST Mar 24, 2014Video Transcript
respond when YOU request information. The report aims to cut through government red tape, but as Paul Drewes shows us it still has its sticking points. It's our top story tonight at 6-30. show texting, smartphone file We live in a world where all kinds of information is readily available at your fingertips. file of traffic in slo-mo But when it comes to getting answers from government agencies, that information can sometimes seem like the slow- lane on the information super-highway. 12:15 "it might be the agency forgot it, it fell between the cracks." file of DOH file The state's uniform information practices act is supposed to speed that up. When people send in specific requests for records from the state or county, say a report from the clean water branch, or a business license with the department of commerce -- the clock starts ticking for those agencies to respond. 16:06-16:20 "what they're supposed to do, in 10 work days is stating they're going to grant it, or deny it and if they are going to deny it -- what's the reason, of they might say they don't have the record" graphic goes here 59% fully granted 17% partially granted 20% abandoned/withdra wn by requestor 4% denied In the past 9 months, there have been over 3400 of those requests. About 75 percent of them were fully or partially granted, which means many got the answer they were looking for...And fairly quickly... 4:09 "99% of them were completed in about 8 days time" shot of money While searching and copying those records cost the state over 33-thousand dollars, various exemptions reduced fees for residents. 6:22-6:32 "most requestors paid very little if anything...it might have amounted to $1.60 for each request that was granted and they got their answer in about 8 days." When a request is denied, residents can request the Office of Information Practices to look into their case. If the attorneys decide the information should be released, they will contact the state agency themselves. Unfortunately, their time is largely taken up by what could be called "repeat requestors" - who ask for the same or similar info over and over again. 20:39-20:49 "38% of our cases are just from one individual, a couple, and a group of inmates" That adds to the backlog at OIP, and it means complex cases from 2012 are not getting resolved until two years later. Another problem is not all state agencies are even logging their information request reports, even though they are required to, because there is no penalty if they don't. Paul Drewes KITV 4 news. County agencies are also County agencies are also required to release requested information to residents, but right now there is no state record of them, along with the number of formal requests resolved.