The Minnesota Capitol. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.
State lawmakers appear poised to stop the Minnesota judicial branch’s plan to begin charging people $8 per document for court papers obtained online.
Both the House and Senate have bills with language that would eliminate the planned fees for Minnesota Court Records Online.
The state judicial branch launched online access to district court case records in March 2021, and more than 3 million documents have been downloaded for free since then. But later this year, the judicial branch plans to begin charging $8 per document for anything beyond the first page — the same fee if people get the document at a courthouse.
News reporters and independent journalists have expressed concern about the fees because they routinely use court records to keep the public informed. By comparison, federal courts charge 10 cents per page for online court documents.
Blocking the fees has bipartisan support, with language prohibiting the fees in both the House and Senate judiciary bills.
Rep. Kristin Robbins, R-Maple Grove, is one of several lawmakers who introduced bills to stop the fees (HF3041). Robbins said in a recent press release that Minnesotans have a right to access documents pertaining to their own cases, and the right to a transparent government.
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