Vermont Passes FOI Reforms

Front view of the Vermont State House (taken S...

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Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law Wednesday a public records bill championed by open records advocates who say the changes are long overdue for a state that has consistently received poor transparency rankings.

The legislation, H.B. 73, awards attorneys fees and costs to those who fight public records denials in court and win, and creates a committee to review the number of exemptions to the state’s public records statutes.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Donna Sweaney, D-Windsor.

“This bill represents an important step toward more open government,” Shumlin said. “We’ve seen too many times in practice that the public records law hasn’t always lived up to its promise. . . . By requiring courts to award attorney’s fees to prevailing plaintiffs in public records cases, this law deputizes every citizen to help hold public agencies — including the state of Vermont — accountable.”

More here….

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