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Legislative Sponsors Sought for Right-to-Know Bills

Established in 2013, Right to Know NH (RTKNH) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen coalition working to improve access to New Hampshire state, county, and local governments.

By David Saad, president of RTKNH

If you know of a legislator who would consider sponsoring or cosponsoring either of these bills, please email RightToKnowNH@gmail.com.

Inspect Records at no cost Bill
This bill is needed because public bodies, under some circumstances, continue to charge citizens to inspect records. For instance, if there is a need to redact some information, the public body will charge for copy costs, even though the citizen only wishes to inspect the record. The public body claims that they have to make a copy of the redacted record, so they charge for the copy. In some cases, when the record is an electronic record (i.e. email or database record) public bodies state they have to copy the record in order to redact information. Again the citizen is charged the cost of the copy even though the citizen never requested a copy. This bill clarifies that when the citizen requests to inspect a record at the public body’s place of business, there will not be any charge to do so.

Reasons for Denial Bill
The majority of Right-to-Know complaints have to do with records requests either being delayed, denied, or records being redacted without sufficient justification for the redaction. This Bill addresses the issue by requiring the public body to furnish reasons, in writing, for the delay or denial of records. When records are denied, it further requires the specific exemption relied on for the denial. Currently, many public bodies error on the side of denying records because they don’t have to justify their denial to the citizen. This bill requires them to justify, in writing, why they are denying records.

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