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Advocate, Current sue LCG over public records

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Posted at 10:40 AM, Sep 19, 2022

Two Lafayette news organizations are suing Mayor-President Josh Guillory over alleged violation of the Louisiana Public Records Law by charging $1 per page for electronic records, our media partners at The Advocate report.

According to the newspaper, attorneys representing The Current and The Acadiana Advocate filed a lawsuit Monday in 15th Judicial District Court against Guillory in his official capacity as mayor-president of Lafayette Consolidated Government and as custodian of public records alleging "egregious and intentional abuse" of the Public Records Law.

"Public servants can't tax their citizens because they are asking questions about what the government is up to," Scott Sternberg, a New Orleans attorney representing the news organizations, told The Advocate. "The man did everything but triple-dog-dare us to sue him, and we're up for the challenge."

We reached out to the Guillory administration for a comment, and they referred us to the legal department. We've reached out to them and we'll update the story when we receive a response.

Prior to August, LCG did not require payment for the public or news media to obtain public records electronically, that is via email. The state legislature changed the law recently so that government agencies may charge a "reasonable" fee for electronically transmitting public records, as they have been allowed for years to charge a "reasonable" fee for print copies of records, The Advocate reports.

"Nothing in the recent amendments to the Louisiana Public Records law compels the Lafayette Consolidated Government to impose these new, cost-prohibitive charges," Gary McGoffin, a Lafayette attorney representing The Current, told the newspaper. "It is an obvious attempt to impair every person’s constitutional right to know, first hand, what LCG is doing."

To read the whole story, click here.