HB1216 ITL by HJC

HB1216 was voted 12-0 to be inexpedient to legislate by the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would have required agencies to provide information that is not recorded. The report on the bill from the committee was written by Rep. Mark McLean:

RSA 91-A:4 grants all citizens the right to inspect governmental records. However, the statute explicitly states that public bodies or agencies are not required to compile, cross reference, or assemble information into a form in which it is not already kept. This bill would reenact that portion of the law to require public bodies and agencies to compile and report information that is not normally kept after receiving payment by the requestor. The supporters of this bill testified that repeated Right to Know requests were refused on the grounds that the data requested was scattered and would require compiling. They believed that this bill would address the issue by mandating the compilation. The committee unanimously agreed that while there were some cases where compilation could be easily achieved, there were many more cases where this would not be so, and that the bill was so broadly written that it would have the impact of turning agencies into data researchers. Public bodies and agencies do not have the resources to execute this kind of work on a large scale. The current Right to Know statute grants anyone the right to inspect any document for free, and it has no restrictions on how the requestor may choose to compile or tabulate that data after it has been received. The committee therefore felt that this bill was unnecessary and burdensome.

This bill now goes to the full House for a vote on the consent calendar on March 9, 2016.


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