N.H. Next to Bottom for Public Access

New Hampshire ranked 49th, only beating out Wyoming by 1 point for the worst score on public access to information in the recent State Integrity Investigation published by the Center for Public Integrity. And this low score for New Hampshire is in “the worst performing category in the State Integrity Investigation” according to an article on the report, where 44 states earned an F.

Overall, New Hampshire earned a grade of D- and ranked 34th among the 50 states. New Hampshire’s score was 61, a drop from 66 in the 2012 study, though the study has changed between the years.  But, it is the score on access to information that is particularly troubling, as noted by an article on New Hampshire:

New Hampshire also scored poorly on “access to information.” The right of citizens to access government records and meetings is enshrined in the state constitution and is clearly defined in Chapter 91-A, commonly known as the “right to know” law. But in practice, this right is circumscribed both by legal exemptions (the governor’s office is not subject to the law), and the lack of any formal mechanism for appealing when agencies rebuff information requests. In such cases, a citizen’s only recourse is the court system. And the bar for recovering attorney fees and other costs is dauntingly high — only when an agency “knew or should have known” that materials were wrongfully withheld.

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