House Bill 178 on a study commission on resolving Right-to-Know complaints has been introduced in the N.H. House and assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Kenneth Weyler (R), Rep. Kathleen Souza (R), Rep. Dan Itse (R), Rep. James Spillane (R), Sen. Bob Giuda (R), Sen. James Gray (R), Sen. Regina Birdsell (R), and Sen. Kevin Avard (R). This bill was suggested by RTKNH and we appreciate all the sponsors for this bill.
HB178 is scheduled for a hearing by the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 10:45 a.m. in room 208 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord, N.H. The public is encouraged to attend and testify in favor of this bill.
This bill adds a new section RSA 91-A:8-a:
91-A:8-a Commission to Study Processes to Resolve Right-to-Know Complaints.
I. There is established a commission to study processes to resolve right-to-know complaints.
(a) The members of the commission shall be as follows:
(1) One member of the house of representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.
(2) One member of the senate, appointed by the president of the senate.
(3) The attorney general, or designee.
(4) One member from local government, appointed by the governor.
(5) One member who shall have brought suit pro se under RSA 91-A:7, appointed by the governor.
(6) One member representing the New Hampshire Press Association, appointed by that association.
(7) One member representing Right To Know New Hampshire, appointed by that organization.
(8) One member of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, appointed by that organization.
(9) One citizen member, appointed by the governor.
(b) Legislative members of the commission shall receive mileage at the legislative rate when attending to the duties of the commission.
II.(a) The commission shall study alternative processes to resolve right-to-know complaints consistent with the following:
(1) Encouraging resolution of right-to-know complaints directly between citizens and public agencies and bodies.
(2) Reducing the burden and costs of right-to-know complains on the courts.
(3) Reducing the burden and costs of right-to-know complaints on public agencies and bodies.
(4) Reducing the burden and costs of right-to-know complains on citizens aggrieved by violations of RSA 91-A.
(5) Increasing awareness and compliance with the right-to-know law to minimize violations.
(b) The commission may solicit information from any person or entity the commission deems relevant to its study.
III. The members of the commission shall elect a chairperson from among the members. The first meeting of the commission shall be called by the house member. The first meeting of the commission shall be held within 30 days of the effective date of this section. Five members of the commission shall constitute a quorum.
IV. The commission shall report its findings and any recommendations for proposed legislation to the speaker of the house of representatives, the president of the senate, the house clerk, the senate clerk, the governor, and the state library on or before December 1, 2017.
The full text of the bill is available here.