RTKNH receives First Amendment Award

We couldn’t be more proud.  On Thursday night, October 5, 2017, the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications awarded Right to Know NH its First Amendment Award. The award is given annually by the school to those who have “gone above and beyond to uphold” First Amendment Freedoms.

1sr amendment award group

RTKNH, including founding members and officers Harriet Cady, David Saad and David Taylor were honored at a gala at the Palace Theatre in Manchester for its work in advancing the public’s right to know in New Hampshire.

A 5 minute video about RTKNH was shown at the award ceremony followed by a speech by David Saad,  RTKNH president.

The keynote speaker was Garrison Keillor, creator and star of “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show, who spoke of everyday threats to our First Amendment rights, not least of which is our own indifference and reluctance to act.

Since it began in 2013, Right to Know NH has been devoted to strengthening the Right to Know law in New Hampshire.  Through legislative action, education outreach and mentoring citizens in obtaining public information, the grass roots organization has grown to become a notable advocate for open government in the state.

We are honored to be recognized by the Nackey S. Loeb School and are delighted that attorney and First Amendment specialist, Greg Sullivan, was also recognized with the school’s Pen and Quill award.

The Nackey  S. Loeb School of Communications’ mission is to “promote understanding and appreciation of the First Amendment and to foster interest, integrity and excellence in journalism and communication.”

Articles by the Union Leader and Concord Monitor provide more information.

 

HB 1546 would eliminate minutes requirement for some county delegation meetings

The Right-to-Know Law requires meeting minutes whenever a quorum of a public body or agency has a meeting per RSA 91-A:2.

HB 1546 would allow for a meeting of a quorum of the county delegation without any record of such meeting when all they do is approve minutes. No meeting minutes would also mean no record of who was in attendance, how they voted regarding the approval of the minutes, nor a record of comments/corrections regarding the minutes being discussed.

The RSA 91- Preamble states “Openness in the conduct of public business is essential to a democratic society. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure both the greatest possible public access to the actions, discussions and records of all public bodies, and their accountability to the people.”  Allowing the County Delegation to meet without maintaining a record of who met, when they met, and the vote tally of who approved the minutes creates a veil of secrecy which contradicts the purpose of RSA 91-A.

County delegations should not be exempt from the requirement to record minutes of all their meetings per RSA 91-A:2.

Please contact your legislator and ask them to oppose HB 1546.

RTKNH meeting Saturday 1/18 @ 9 a.m

Right to Know NH will meet on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 9:00 A.M. in Concord, NH at 8 North Main Street in the office of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers.  We will discuss our positions on the following Right-to-Know bills submitted for this legislative session.

HB1202: relative to matters discussed in nonpublic session
Sponsors: Rep. DiLorenzo, Rock. 17; Rep. Kenney, Straf. 6; Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Rep. Balch, Hills. 38; Rep. Conley, Straf. 13; Rep. Wuelper, Straf. 3; Rep. Sylvia, Belk. 6; Rep. Meuse, Rock. 29; Sen. Giuda, Dist 2

HB1325: relative to minutes and decisions in nonpublic sessions under the right-to-know law. Sponsors: Rep. DiLorenzo, Rock. 17; Rep. Ulery, Hills. 37; Rep. Chase, Straf. 18; Rep. Langley, Hills. 8; Sen. Carson, Dist 14

HB1689: relative to minutes in nonpublic session
Sponsors: Rep. Yokela, Rock. 33; Rep. Yakubovich, Merr. 24; Rep. DeSimone, Rock. 14; Rep. Wuelper, Straf. 3

HB1559: relative to sealing records in nonpublic session
Sponsors: Rep. Yokela, Rock. 33; Rep. Yakubovich, Merr. 24; Rep. Wuelper, Straf. 3

HB1390: relative to access to ballots and verification counts of machine-counted ballots. Sponsors: Rep. Read, Rock. 17; Rep. T. Smith, Hills. 17; Rep. Vann, Hills. 24; Rep. DiLorenzo, Rock. 17; Rep. Horrigan, Straf. 6; Rep. Jack, Hills. 36; Rep. Frost, Straf. 16; Rep. Towne, Straf. 4; Rep. DesMarais, Carr. 6; Rep. Knirk, Carr. 3; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 21

HB1169: eliminate requirement for role call vote
Sponsors: Rep. J. Schmidt, Hills. 28; Rep. O’Brien, Hills. 36; Rep. Klee, Hills. 30

HB1170: adding a definition of “reasonably described”
Sponsors: Rep. J. Schmidt, Hills. 28

HB1307: allows public bodies to charge personnel costs for retrieval of records
Sponsors: Rep. J. Schmidt, Hills. 28

HB1546: relative to meeting minutes of county delegations.
Sponsors: Rep. Steven Smith, Sull. 11; Rep. Aron, Sull. 7; Rep. Cloutier, Sull. 10; Rep. Rollins, Sull. 6; Rep. Stapleton, Sull. 5

HB1524: prohibiting police from releasing information of certain non-violent offenders on social media before conviction.
Sponsors: Rep. Klein-Knight, Hills. 11; Rep. McNally, Straf. 10; Rep. Bouchard, Hills. 11; Rep. Sylvia, Belk. 6

HB1531: relative to the release of voting information in a presidential election.
Sponsors: Rep. Prout, Hills. 37; Rep. Edwards, Rock. 4; Rep. Costable, Rock. 3; Rep. Verville, Rock. 2; Rep. A. Lekas, Hills. 37; Rep. T. Lekas, Hills. 37; Rep. Torosian, Rock. 14

HB1529: prohibiting the release of the name of a mass shooter.
Sponsors: Rep. Hopper, Hills. 2; Rep. Potucek, Rock. 6

HB1673: relative to the definition of “public body”
Sponsors: Rep. McGuire, Merr. 29; Rep. T. Lekas, Hills. 37; Rep. Wuelper, Straf. 3

SB426: relative to exemptions from the right-to-know law
Sponsors: Sen. Chandley, Dist 11; Rep. Pantelakos, Rock. 25

Several of these bills, if passed, will erode your right to an open and transparent government.

The public is welcome to join us.  Please come and help us protect and improve your right to know.

NH Right to Know Articles of Interest

Right to Know Bills available for review

Most of the upcoming bills in the legislature which will effect a citizen’s right to know are now available for review on our blog.  Please check them out.  RTKNH will be publishing our position on these bills at a future date. Join us in the fight to protect your right to know and help us insure a more open and transparent government by getting involved. Join RTKNH today.

RTKNH meeting Saturday 12/21 @ 9 a.m

Right to Know NH will meet on Saturday, December 21, 2019 via Conference Call.   We will discuss Right-to-Know bills submitted for this legislative session.

The public is welcome to join us.  Contact us for conference call-in number.

RTKNH meeting Saturday 11/16 @ 9 a.m

Right to Know NH will meet on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 9:00 A.M. in Concord, NH at 8 North Main Street in the office of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers.   We will discuss Right-to-Know bills submitted for this legislative session.

The public is welcome to join us.