Rep. Patsy Crockett, D-Augusta, will present a bill before the State and Local Government Committee at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, which would raise the document fee at registries of deeds to help counties make up for revenue lost if the public purchases the documents from private companies.

The bill, LD 1554, “An Act Regarding Document Fees Registries of Deeds,” would raise fees on second and subsequent pages from $2 to $4. It would prohibit commercial vendors from selling documents in bulk for a profit, undercutting copying fees set by most counties.

The counties need revenue to help with operating costs of registries of deeds, which include paying employees to record, store and preserve the original paper documents.

To ensure the integrity of documents, the bill would require anyone who obtains the documents for further sale or distribution to indicate on the records that they are not official copies and that source documents are available at a specific county registry of deeds.

The bill would also make Title 33 the prevailing statute in setting these fees instead of Title 1, The Freedom of Information Act.

There is currently some confusion as to which statute prevails in terms of the amount of the copying fees, which may be charged for documents at the registries of deeds.