Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vermont Bolsters Public Records Law

WASHINGTON - APRIL 14:  Vermont Gov. Peter Shu...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeVermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has signed H. 73, which strengthens the Green Mountain State's Public Records Law.

The measure, introduced by Rep. Donna G. Sweaney of Windsor, takes effect on July 1. Among the changes to the law are the requirement that individuals who successfully challenge a denied request for documents be reimbursed their legal fees and that state agencies designate a staffer "records officer" to handle requests and inquiries.

Municipalities do not have to appoint a records officer and the amended law does enable government agencies that lose a records request dispute to avoid paying the requester's attorneys fees if the entity produces the records being sought in the early stages of the legal action pursuing the documents. The new law also creates a panel to review the law's more than 200 exemptions, according to an article by the Associated Press.
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