Public Record Update
June 2013
New Colorado Court Fees

A number of fee increases will take place effective July 1, 2013 for all Colorado Courts including County, District, Court of Appeals, Supreme, and the Water Court. Most of the changes affect filing fees and surcharges, with some increasing as much as 20%. The costs for all certifications, including Certification of a copy, a Dismissal, a Satisfaction of Judgment, and for an Exemplification increase from $13.00 to $20.00. Fees for copies and searches remain the same.

This increase is actually part of an order repealing a temporary decrease (Chief Justice Directive 12-02) that previously went into effect on January 23, 2012. So the new fees are actually a return to levels in place in 2011.

Two documents that show both sets of fees can be viewed and compared at:
www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=176

Look for Filing Fees, Surcharges, and Costs effective on and after January 23, 2012 and for Filing Fees, Surcharges, and Costs effective on and after July 1, 2013.
Slight Decrease for Oregon Driving Records

The fee for an Oregon electronic driving record will decrease from $9.68 to $9.63 effective July 1, 2013. If the requested record is a "no record found" when requested online, that fee also decrease by a nickel from $9.18 to $9.13. This online service is provided by NIC Oregon, an affiliate of NIC, Inc., per an agreement signed by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and NIC. The fees for all other motor vehicle records remain the same.

More About NIC
NIC state affiliates provide a variety of online services in 30 states. NIC is also the conduit for the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) provided by the Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. PSP provides electronic access to a driver's crash and inspection history from the FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).

See www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov/Pages/default.aspx.

More About Oregon Motor Vehicle Records
Oregon has several other options available for ordering driving and vehicle records, including Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and electronic ordering but with mail or fax back service.

See See www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/records/index.aspx.
Hawaii Recorded Documents

The Bureau of Conveyances, part of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, is the single, statewide recording office in Hawaii. Effective July 1, the Bureau will increase the fee by $1.00 for all documents recorded in its Regular and Land Court Systems. The fee to record documents in the Regular System will be $31 for the first 20 pages. The fee to record documents in the Land Court System will be $26 for the first 20 pages. The fee remains $25 for the issuance of a transfer certificate of title in Land Court. There will be no changes for any other recording fees.

The increase is per Act 88, of the 2013 Session Laws of Hawaii, which was signed into law by Governor Abercrombie on May 31, 2013. A copy of Act 88 is viewable at www.capitol.hawaii.gov
California Courts and Record Access
Trailer Bill Killed But New Bill Passed That Alters Public Records Act
There was quite a bit of news and push back about the trailer bill that would have dramatically altered the fee structure for viewing and obtaining court records in California. The bill was killed by the legislature on June 14, 2013.

However, another bill was added to the budget bill which was passed on the 14th. SB71 (or AB76) modifies wording in the California Public Records Act (CPRA)T.

Currently, the CPRA states "...requires state and local agencies to make public records available upon receipt of a request that reasonably describes an identifiable record not otherwise exempt from disclosure, upon the payment of fees to cover costs." SB71 modifies CPRA so that state and local government are merely "encouraged" to make the public records available as per CPRA. SB71 also makes compliance with certain provisions of CPRA as "optional" rather than required - menaing agencies can opt out. The provisions deal with access public records, including court records.

According to published reports this is a budget issue and the Department of Finance expects agencies who opt out will save the state tens of millions of dollars. Another in-depth article is available from the Courthouse News Service at www.courthousenews.com/2013/06/18/58616.htm.

View SB71 or AB76 at www.leginfo.ca.gov/index.html. The bill specifically alters Sections 6252 by adding 6252.8 which in turn makes certain parts of the CPRA optional including provisions in 6253.

View the section affected in the CPRA at: www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=gov&group=06001-07000&file=6250-6270.

The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor on or before June 30th, 2013.

THE ARTICLE BELOW WAS SENT TO SUBSCRIBERS THE NEXT DAY.
Update - California Record Access
Governor Brown Backs Down
According to news stories released today by the Los Angeles Times, Governor Jerry Brown reversed his decision to sign a measure that would have allowed local government to opt out of critical provisions of the California Public Records Act.

This follows a vote today by the California Assembly which also reversed its position and decided to keep the status quo, for now.

There is talk of a possible amendment to insure access to public records remains the same, but the costs of supplying the records would be borne by local government without reimbursement by the state as they are now. So there are still conflicts on the horizon.

View the LA Times story here.
How Do You Analyze Online Sites?
Today everyone is trying to either save a buck or find an edge over their competition by finding new or lower cost online sites providing public records such as criminal records. When one is evaluating an online site, the typical questions often asked are "How much does it cost?" and "Is the data current?" But the questions that really need to be asked and answered are:
  • Is 'x' a primary source or a secondary source?
  • Is an online search of 'x' equivalent to an onsite search?
Sometimes the word-of-mouth system is a good way to find verification of a reliable online site. Sure, you can ask a colleague for a recommendation, but you are not going to obtain a full scale analysis from a post on a social media site or list serve. And if your business depends on knowing the depth and validity of the search results when using a certain online site, you better do more than just get a referral. The resulting data is much too valuable. Firms and individuals who have taken the time to analyze the data on an online site as well as determine the rate of return for the site using certain online systems are not going to give their analysis away freely.

So how do you analyze online sites? Do you have an internal best practice statement that details the necessary components you or your firm perceives to be required in order to consider a web source as a primary search? What components, or lack of, lead to classifying a site as being secondary? Do you have a similar best practice statement provided to clients about your online research - or do you use a statement that basically says something to the effect that "we do the best we can?"

Below are four questions to ask yourself about your own best practices. Your answers will dictate insight to your current online research procedures.
  1. How Do You Measure the Worthiness?
  2. Do You Cut Corners? If so, Where?
  3. Do You Monitor or Evaluate Sites?
  4. How Will your Results Hold Up in Court?
If you would like to know more about how to evaluate online sites, see the newly released 3rd edition of The Manual to Online Public Records. Chapter one covers the above topic in much more detail in the section titled How to Evaluate the Worthiness of Online Content.

I rarely promote a BRB product in this newsletter, but I do feel this new edition is exceptional. It is without a doubt one of the most information packed publications we have ever published, with help from co-author Cynthia Hetherington. I urge you to check it out. The book is so new it just left the printer and is now being sent to book stores and to Amazon. Also, the book will be carried by ASIS, IRE, PI Magazine, Delta Press, and ACFE. (Cynthia and I are scheduled for a book signing Tuesday at the ACFE Annual Conference). Thanks - MS.
Montana Courts
Effective July 1, 2013, certain Montana District Court fees will become uniform in a number of areas when the provisions of HB 403 take affect. This bill overrides a number of court fees that were established by local rules. The provision of HB 403 will reduce the fees charged by over 80% of the courts for documents that are provided on an electronic basis. As of July 1st, the fee to send a document by fax, email, or on CD will be a flat rate of $.25 per page. Nearly all District Courts have been charging $1.00 or more per page for faxing documents. The new law also clarifies the fees courts are to charged in all criminal and civil proceedings for a certification ($2.00), for copies ($1.00 per page 1st 10 pages, then $.50 each add'l page), and for a search of court records ($2.00 per name per year searched for up to 7 years, then $1.00 per name per add'l year.)

Other fees affected by HB 403 include establishing statewide fees for filing a pleading by fax or by email. The incoming fax fee is set at $.50 a page.

View HB403 at laws.leg.mt.gov/legprd/law0203w$.startup?P_SESS=20131.
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