Bill Text: NH HB396 | 2019 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Relative to delay or denial of records under the right-to-know law.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 6-3)

Status: (Enrolled) 2019-05-16 - Enrolled 05/08/2019 [HB396 Detail]

Download: New_Hampshire-2019-HB396-Amended.html

HB 396-FN-LOCAL - AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE

 

04/25/2019   1507s

2019 SESSION

19-0403

01/06

 

HOUSE BILL 396-FN-LOCAL

 

AN ACT relative to delay or denial of records under the right-to-know law.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. DiLorenzo, Rock. 17; Rep. Cushing, Rock. 21; Rep. Horrigan, Straf. 6; Rep. Ulery, Hills. 37; Rep. Wuelper, Straf. 3; Rep. Janvrin, Rock. 37; Rep. Morrison, Rock. 9; Sen. Giuda, Dist 2; Sen. Carson, Dist 14

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill requires a public body or agency to provide written reasons for delay or denial of records under the right-to-know law.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

04/25/2019   1507s 19-0403

01/06

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

 

AN ACT relative to delay or denial of records under the right-to-know law.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Right-to-Know; Minutes and Records Available for Public Inspection.  RSA 91-A:4, IV is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

IV.(a)  Each public body or agency shall, upon request for any governmental record reasonably described, make available for inspection and copying any such governmental record within its files when such records are immediately available for such release.

(b)  If a public body or agency is unable to make a governmental record available for immediate inspection and copying the public body or agency shall, within 5 business days of a request:

(1)  Make such record available;

(2)  Deny the request; or

(3)  Provide a written statement of the time reasonably necessary to determine whether the request shall be granted or denied and the reason for the delay.

(c)  A public body or agency denying, in whole or part, inspection or copying of any record shall provide a written statement of the specific exemption authorizing the withholding of the record and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld.

(d)  If a computer, photocopying machine, or other device maintained for use by a public body or agency is used by the public body or agency to copy the governmental record requested, the person requesting the copy may be charged the actual cost of providing the copy, which cost may be collected by the public body or agency.  No fee shall be charged for the inspection or delivery, without copying, of governmental records, whether in paper, electronic, or other form.  Nothing in this section shall exempt any person from paying fees otherwise established by law for obtaining copies of governmental records or documents, but if such fee is established for the copy, no additional costs or fees shall be charged.

2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2020.

 

LBAO

19-0403

12/28/18

 

HB 396-FN-LOCAL- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to delay or denial of records under the right-to-know law.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [    ] State              [    ] County               [ X ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

LOCAL:

FY 2020

FY 2021

FY 2022

FY 2023

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

Indeterminable

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill requires a public body or public agency to provide a written explanation for a delay when it is unable to make a governmental record available for immediate inspection and copying or when denying inspection or copying of any record in whole or in part, due to a specified exemption pursuant to RSA 91-A.  The New Hampshire Municipal Association states this may result in additional work for municipal officials and employees.  The number of requests received in each municipality in unknown and the amount of any such additional work and any additional expense is indeterminable.

 

The Department of Justice states it provides legal counsel to state agencies and public bodies.  To the extent the department would have to provide advice concerning the applicability of the bill, it could be done within the department's current budget.

 

The New Hampshire Association of Counties indicates there is no fiscal impact to county operations as a result of this legislation.

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

New Hampshire Municipal Association, Department of Justice, and New Hampshire Association of Counties

 

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