Maine rejects terrible FOI exemption…

The Maine House of Representatives decisively rejected an attempt to create a dangerous exemption to Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, which guarantees access to public records. From the ACLU:

LD 1805, “An Act to Implement Recommendations of the Right to Know Advisory Committee Concerning a Public Records Exception for Proposed Legislation, Reports and Working Papers of the Governor,” would have allowed the governor to hide from public scrutiny records relating to the decision-making process within his office.

“Transparency is fundamental to a healthy democracy. This bill would have created a significant exemption in Maine’s freedom of access laws and shielded the governor’s office from appropriate scrutiny,” said Shenna Bellows, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. “We are grateful that the House has voted to reject this new and unnecessary exemption. The public has a legitimate right to access records, whether they are held in the governor’s office or any other part of state government.”

The House voted 98-47 against the bill.

“Today, lawmakers from all parties affirmed the importance of open government,” said Alysia Melnick, Public Policy Counsel for the ACLU of Maine. “With a governor’s broad authority to set the legislative agenda, introduce bills, create public policy and implement laws, it’s critical that information about executive operations and decision making be subject to public review.”

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