Senate to Vote on Bill to Create Ombudsman Tomorrow

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The Full Senate will be voting on SB 555 tomorrow.  More Details here.

Please contact your Legislator NOW and ask them to support SB 555.

SB 555 will establish an Ombudsman to resolve Right to Know grievances and reduce the burden and costs for:

  • Citizens
  • Courts
  • Public agencies & bodies

The 13 member study commission unanimously agreed that New Hampshire needs an Ombudsman.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously agreed that New Hampshire needs an Ombudsman and voted to pass SB 555. The vote was 5-0.

Since there was a Fiscal Note on the Bill requiring an appropriation of $48,000 for the Ombudsman, the Senate Finance Committee yesterday voted the Bill Inexpedient to Legislate.  The vote was split 3-3.

While hiring an ombudsman and establishing a new office is an added expense, there will be considerable savings to offset the costs to the taxpayers.  By avoiding litigation, municipalities and state agencies will often be spared court costs and attorney fees.  For example, in the Superior Court case of Porter v. Town of Sandwich, Porter was awarded over $200,000 in attorney fees and the town had to pay their own legal fees too.  Recently, the town of Tuftonboro paid over $20,000 in legal fees and lost their Right-to-Know lawsuit.

Either way, taxpayers are going to pay for resolving Right to Know violations.  I think $48,000 for an Ombudsman now will yield more than $48,000 in avoided litigation costs later.

Please contact your Legislator NOW and ask them to support SB 555.

David Saad is the President of Right to Know New Hampshire and a resident of Rumney.  He can be emailed at righttoknownh@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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