Recently, Gov. Sununu signed into Law HB481 to establish the office of the right-to-know ombudsman and creates a simpler, less expensive, and faster alternative process to resolve complaints under RSA 91-A.
As an alternative to filing a petition in court, a citizen may file a written complaint with the office of the right to know ombudsman. The ombudsman will then require the public body/agency to provide an answer to the complaint within 20 days citing any justifications for their refusal to or delay in producing the requested governmental records, access to meetings open to the public, or otherwise comply with the provisions of the Right-to-Know Law (RSA 91-A).
In reviewing the complaint, the ombudsman is authorized to:
(a) compel delivery of governmental records to the ombudsman within 30 days for review,
(b) compel interviews with both parties and order attendance at hearings within a reasonable time, if hearings are necessary
(c) Within 30 days after the receipt of responses from both parties, provide written notice of any findings and order any other remedy to the same extent as provided by the court under RSA 91-A:8.
This bill has a sunset clause and will automatically be repealed on July 1, 2025.
RTKNH would like to thank the following sponsors of this bill: Rep. DiLorenzo, Rock. 17; Rep. Langley, Hills. 8; Rep. G. Sanborn, Graf. 6; Rep. Hopper, Hills. 2; Rep. Cushing, Rock. 21; Rep. M. Smith, Straf. 6; Rep. Weyler, Rock. 13; Rep. Ulery, Hills. 37; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Giuda, Dist 2
Additional Background Information:
The origins of this bill come from the recommendations of the 13 member Legislative Right-to-Know Study Commission created by HB 178.
The Study Commissions Final Report can be read at http://www.orol.org/rtk/rtknh/2017-10-31-HB178-Commission-Report.pdf