Sunshine Week features panel discussion on Open Government and the Public’s Right to Know

In recognition of Sunshine Week, a national initiative to promote open government, the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and New England First Amendment Coalition will present a panel discussion concerning the key to open government in New Hampshire — the Right-to-Know Law.
The panel discussion: “The Right to Know in New Hampshire:  Where are we, where are we going?” will be held at the Loeb School in Manchester at 7 p.m. on March 15. Admission is Free.  For more information:  http://www.loebschool.org/uploads/pdfs/cms/Sunshine%20Week%202016.pdf

New Hampshire’s Right-to-Know Law received an F grade for Public Access to Information from the Center for Public Integrity.  The Center for Public Integrity, a 2014 winner of the Pulitzer Prize, evaluated our Right-to-Know Law and that of all 50 states as part of the broader 2015 State Integrity Investigation.  New Hampshire received the second worst grade only above Wyoming.  Our low score is due to too many exemptions, such as for the governor’s office, as well as the lack of any appeal mechanism outside of court when access to information is denied.  For more details visit http://bit.ly/1Qoz84m or www.publicintegrity.org.

Right to Know NH (RTKNH) has tried to address these failings. RTKNH was formed a few years ago by citizens across the state who have personal experience with the failings in the law.  RTKNH advocates for more open government throughout New Hampshire.  We work with the state legislature to strengthen the law, help other citizens to get the access they need and provide helpful resources for anyone interested in this fundamental right through our blog.

For each of the last 3 years, RTKNH has supported bills for a commission to review cases of denied access to public records or meetings so going to court would be the last resort instead of the only resort.  Unfortunately, each of these bills has failed in the House including HB1413 this year to study less costly alternatives to going to court.

RTKNH has made progress with some bills to improve the law and this year we have supported 3 bills.  House bills HB1417, HB1418, and HB1419 each try to diminish various exemptions in the law.

As part of our mission, RTKNH is participating in the panel discussion on the Right-to-Know Law for Sunshine Week.  More information about Right to Know New Hampshire can be found at righttoknownh.wordpress.com or email us at righttoknownh@gmail.com

Sunshine Week poster      Sunshine Week Discussion 2016

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