Some county clerks upset about AG ruling

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

About a month ago, WYMT told you about an open records decision made by the Attorney General's Office.

Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz was found in violation of the Open Records Act because she would not allow someone to use a hand held scanner on the documents.

The ruling by the AG not only effects Whitley County, but also all clerks in Kentucky.

All of the records in the books are open to the public, the question is whether people can make their own copies and not pay for them.

"We are allowed by statute on voter registration card to charge 50 cents per statute," said Leslie County Clerk James Lewis.

In a recent ruling by the Attorney General, it says if someone brings in their own imaging equipment, they do not have the pay any fees. A decision that has area clerks talking.

"We've never had an issue with a hand held scanner in Knox County," said Knox County Clerk Mike Corey.

But for Leslie County Clerk James Lewis, he says the decision is not fair.

"Laws and regulations have not caught up with technology. We are still a fee office," said Lewis.

That means their only source of revenue are the fees they collect like car licensing fees and the copy fees.

"The AG says you can only use the actual duplicating cost not counting labor, and being a fee office we feel like that is not a fair ruling," said Lewis.

Lewis says there is legislation in the process, but nothing has been drafted yet. Until then by law, clerks will have to comply with the AG's ruling.

We did contact Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz about the ruling, but she had a last minute meeting and was unable to comment.

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