On Wednesday, August 12th, at noon, Right to Know NH (RTKNH) will host a Zoom webinar on Law Enforcement Transparency, Accountability and Your Right to Know presented by RTKNH President David Saad.
This webinar will provide an overview on which law enforcement records are available to the public including body cam footage. Learn about your right to request law enforcement records and guidance on how to submit your records request. We’ll also discuss recent Supreme Court rulings which impact your right to know about law enforcement’s actions and records.
No preregistration required. Zoom connection information and link to be posted on the Right to Know NH facebook page at 11:30 am on August 12th – 30 minutes before the zoom webinar at noon. No software download needed.
|The New England First Amendment Coalition, Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications and the New Hampshire Press Association will present a free webinar June 26th 12-1 pm about recent decisions expanding the public’s right to know about government. Attorneys Richard Gagliuso and Gregory V. Sullivan will discuss two positive decisions issued by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire earlier this month that will make it easier for the public to oversee its law enforcement agencies and hold police officers accountable for their actions. Gagliuso of Bernstein Shur and Sullivan of Malloy & Sullivan were among the attorneys arguing for the public’s right to know in the cases. In each case, the high court overruled a previous decision that categorically exempted from the state’s Right-to-Know Law any records related to “internal personnel practices.” With these rulings, that category of records is now more limited. A balancing test — rather than the more strict per se exemption — is now also required to determine if those records should be publicly released. At stake in the cases was the public’s right to access certain law enforcement records. Seacoast Newspapers v. City of Portsmouth concerned the release of a 2018 arbitration decision about a fired police officer. In Union Leader Corp. v. Town of Salem, the court addressed a public records request for an audit report that included details about internal affairs complaint investigations. Both the police union in Portsmouth and the Salem Police Department had cited a 1993 case Union Leader Corp. v. Fenniman to try to argue that the documents were exempt from the Right-to-Know Law, an earlier decision the court now says is flawed.|
Registration and additional details for this free webinar are found here.
The New England First Amendment Coalition and the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications are offering two free online classes about the First Amendment and the public’s right to know about government during a time of crisis.
NEFAC’s partnership with the Loeb School to offer free online classes is the latest example of how the coalition is helping to protect the press and educate the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To participate in either or both classes described below, register for them and you will receive log-in information.
Freedom of Information Laws and Your Right to Know
April 23 | 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m
Presented by Justin Silverman, NEFAC Executive Director
The motto “assume your government will be open, but be prepared to fight for it,” seems even more important at a time when we are depending on the government for information which will keep citizens healthy. After this class students will have a better understanding of why government transparency is needed in our democracy despite its tension with personal privacy and security interests.
Registration and more information here.
The First Amendment in Times of Crisis
April 29 | 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Presented by Gregory V. Sullivan, NEFAC Board Member
This class will serve as a First Amendment primer, highlighting examples from other times of crisis and focusing on defamation and freedom of speech. Students will learn about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the five freedoms it protects. During class, students will view examples from challenging times in U.S. history when constitutional rights were tested and landmark legal cases reinforced First Amendment protections.
Registration and more information here.
Sunshine Week (March 15-21) is a nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community.
Right to Know NH (RTKNH) is dedicated to raising awareness of your right to a government which is open, accessible, and accountable.
“A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” – James Madison
“The right of freely examining public characters & measures, & of free communication thereon, is the only effectual guardian of every other right” – James Madison
“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government” – Thomas Jefferson
Right to Know NH will meet on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 9:00 A.M. in Concord, NH at 8 North Main Street in the office of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers. We will discuss Right to Know (RSA 91-A) bills which have been submitted for the current 2020 legislative session. The public is welcome to join us.
The New England First Amendment Coalition is seeking nominations for its 2020 Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award.
The award is given to an individual from one of the six New England states who has fought for information crucial to the public’s understanding of its community or what its government is doing — or not doing — on its behalf. The candidate should have shown tenacity or bravery in the face of difficulty while obtaining information that the public has a right to know.
Nomination materials can be found here. The deadline for submissions is January 10, 2020.
The award will be presented at NEFAC’s 10th annual New England First Amendment Awards luncheon from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on February 7 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, 606 Congress Street in Boston. The awards luncheon is part of the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s winter convention.
The following RTKNH members are past recipients of the Antonia Orfield Citizenship Award:
- 2019 David Saad | Saad co-founded Right to Know NH as a nonpartisan citizen coalition working to improve transparency of New Hampshire state, county, and local governments.
- 2017 Donna Green | Green won a public records battle in the New Hampshire Supreme Court which required the distribution of public, non-confidential information in commonly used electronic formats when available.
- 2015 Harriet Cady | Cady is a long-time open government activist, frequently speaking on freedom of information concerns, and a co-founder of Right to Know NH.
Representatives from RTKNH will be attending and have a display table at the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers Annual Picnic Saturday July 6th from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm. This event will be held at the Young-Richardson American Legion Post #59 at 538 W Main St., Hillsborough, New Hampshire 03244.
Emcee: Keith Hanson
For more information on this event and to purchase tickets click here.
On May 2, representatives of RTKNH met with a group of international visitors from a number of North and South American countries interested in learning about Transparency and Accountability in NH Government. The meeting was organized by the World Affairs Council of NH International Visitor Professional Development Leadership Exchange Program through the US Department of State. The International Visitor Professional Development Leadership Exchange Program helps strengthen U.S. engagement with countries around the world and cultivate lasting relationships by connecting current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts through short-term visits to the United States.
The meeting focus was on advocacy and coalition-building to garner support for strengthening open government laws, what successes RTKNH has had, and the obstacles RTKNH has faced – including efforts to implement an Ombudsman and the Citizens’ Right to Know Appeals Commission.
On Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 7 PM, Right to Know NH President David Saad will present a Right to Know training event at the Gilsum Public Library in Gilsum NH. A Powerpoint presentation covering an overview of the Right to Know Law (RSA 91-A) will be followed by a question and answer session. Officials from area towns as well as all interested citizens are encouraged to attend this free event. Light refreshments will be provided. The Gilsum Public Library is located at 650 Rte 10 in Gilsum. RSVP is encouraged for seating but not required by emailing Vicki Ayer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently, RTKNH conducted a Right-to-Know training session for public officials and residents from Goshen, Acworth, and Newport.
The training covered the Right-to-Know Law (RSA 91-A) including several recent updates to the law.
RTKNH is available to provide our presentation on the Right-to-Know Law. To schedule our training presentation for your organization or citizen’s group, please contact us by clicking ‘Send us a message’ on the right side of this page.