N.H. Commission Recommends Ombudsman


Above: N.H. RTK Study Commission members at final meeting.  Seated, left to right, Rep. Jordan Ulery, Sen. Bob Giuda, Harriet Cady.  Standing, Lisa English, Mark Derby, Rep. Charlotte DiLorenzo, Rep. Gary Hopper, Mark Hounsell, David Saad, Christine Hilliard for Gilles Bissonnette.

A New Hampshire commission report recommends a new ombudsman to more easily and cheaply resolve complaints under the Right-to-Know Law, RSA 91-A. The Commission to Study Processes to Resolve Right-to-Know Complaints was required to file its report by November 1, 2017. The Commission was formed under RSA 91-A:8-a by passage of HB 178.

The ombudsman will be a professional attorney. He or she will review and investigate complaints filed by citizens alleging violations of the Right-to-Know Law. The ombudsman will have the power to review confidential records in camera and issue an order detailing his or her results, including applying RSA 91-A remedies such as disclosing records or levying fines.

The ombudsman will be hired by a new Citizens’ Right-to-Know Appeals Commission. This new Commission will oversee and supervise the ombudsman as well as report annually on Right-to-Know complaints and recommendations for changes to RSA 91-A.

The RTK Study Commission was lead by co-chairs Sen. Bob Giuda and Rep. Jordan Ulery.  Sen. Giuda presided over most meetings and drove the committee to complete its report by the deadline. Sen. Giuda also pledged to file a bill in the Senate to implement the recommendations in the report. The report also recommends improved training on the Right-to-Know Law and lower fees.

The complete report is available here.


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