David Taylor of Durham NH, a member of RTKNH, appeared at the House Judiciary Committee hearing and testified in support of HB 170.
Here is his testimony:
Honorable Members of the House Judiciary Committee
Thank you very much for allowing me to testify on bill HB170 today. I support this bill. I am David Taylor of Durham and I served for 12 years on the Oyster River School Board. Even before I joined the board in 1998, I advocated for Oyster River to put more information on the web, by creating my own web site for the district. It is now almost 20 years later and it is now the 21st century. The pace of life has continued to speed up as information has become more accessible. The assumption today is that information is available to all at any time on the web. This bill recognizes this fact of life.
The method to post a notice of a meeting has not changed substantively for over half a century. The notice must be posted on a bulletin board in 2 places at least 24 hours ahead of time, or published in a newspaper. In practice, that means that a citizen who might be interested in meetings must check every day just in case a meeting is scheduled. They must drive to read the notices on the bulletin board just in case one might have been added. In today’s busy world, that is not really practical.
With this bill, a citizen instead can take a few seconds to read a web page. This is so much simpler and more efficient. This will make it much easier for citizens to find out about meetings and to become more engaged. For those who can’t attend meetings, having the minutes on the web is the next best thing.
I assume, like Oyster River, most public bodies have a web site and most of those already publish their notices and minutes on that web site. This bill simply says that if a body does have a web site, then notices and minutes of meetings must be posted on the website. It makes the assumption most people make more reliable. If a public body does not have a web site, then this bill does not require one, so it does not impose that additional cost. Notices will still be published on a bulletin board or in the newspaper as well.
My only concern about this bill is the wording of the sentence about notices. I would prefer the wording to require a notice on a web site even if a notice is published in a newspaper. This isn’t clear to me.
Thank you again for allowing me to testify today on HB170 and I hope you will vote that this bill ought to pass.