Published in The Hill
House lawmakers are planning to introduce a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would make court records free to the public. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) have teamed up to reintroduce the bill, dubbed the Electronic Court Records Reform Act. The bill makes federal court records – now 10 cents per page – free of charge online via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, known as PACER.
In a statement, Collins called the current paywall unreasonable. “Courts represent a cornerstone of our democracy,” he said. “We expect them to deliver justice in public, open for any and all to inspect, and this goal can’t be achieved when case filings and other documents are shrouded behind a paywall.”
The proposal, which was introduced in September but failed to get a hearing, would also require audio and visual court records to be made available on PACER and requires improvements to be made, including adding search functions to the system.