Rhode Island’s FOI legislative package: so far, looking good….

Some Rhode Island public employees “try to shield their contracts” from the public by relying on language in the state Access to Public Records Act, the sponsor of a bill to require that such contracts be public told the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

Bill sponsor Rep. Roberto DaSilva, D-East Providence, testified Tuesday that the bill “makes the open-records law a little bit better, cleans it up.”

Committee members appeared supportive, but indicated the legislation would need added language to redact or remove things that would help prevent crimes such as identity theft.

The state Department of Administration supports the bill but echoed concerns of the attorney general’s office that the legislation should include language that removes Social Security numbers, personal addresses and cell-phone numbers from the documents.

The League of Women Voters in Rhode Island indicated support for the legislation, as did the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We think it’s excellent,” said Hillary Davis, a policy associate with the ACLU.

Aside from the bills heard Tuesday, committee members said that a package of public-records legislation, described as comprehensive, is expected to come out within the next two weeks.


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