In one week, NH had two big advances in citizen’s right to know what their government is doing. On April 19, the NH Supreme Court ruled that public bodies must provide electronic documents if they exist in electronic form and if they are so requested. This puts an end to public bodies insisting on providing paper copies exclusively, as did the Timberlane Regional School District until that ruling.
Four days after that seismic ruling, Governor Hassan signed into law HB 1418, a bill requiring the same level of detail in non-public minutes as in public minutes. HB1418 was initiated by Right to Know NH and will become effective on January 1, 2017.
Thanks go to the sponsors of HB1418 for their commitment in shepherding the law through two judiciary committees and the House and Senate: Rep. Sylvia, Rep. True, and Rep D. Brown. Chris True, representing Rockingham 4 from Sandown has been in the House just a year but his responsiveness and tenacity has already made a difference. Both House reps from Sandown, Chris True and James Devine, sponsored important and meaningful legislation this session.
See what Timberlane’s non-public minutes look like now: NonPublic TRSB 02 18 16 (2)*
For more information on Right to Know legislation this year, both successful and unsuccessful, see RightToKnowNH.wordpress.com.
*UPDATE (5/6/16): A previous version of this article contained non-public draft minutes from April, 2016 that were subsequently sealed (over my objections) at the May 5, 2016 school board meeting.