Instead of looking for a compromise Senators settled on a copout

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Katherine Kokko ... president of RTKNH
On behalf of Right to Know NH, I want to address the conversation about HB1069 that just closed.
HB1069 was designed to address concerns about the misinterpretation and mis-application the term "citizen" to eligibility to receive information about the activities of NH government. It was also amended to address, in a complimentary way, gaps in HB1002, which make it possible for public bodies to refuse to provide records electronically (via email/electronic transfer) when they are easily available that way. Discussions about the gaps addressed by HB1069 were part of the considerations made when negotiating HB1002 as well.
Instead of a CoC discussion, I heard a great deal of concern about the overall bill. It is, and should be, acceptable to expect that public bodies can and should use email to transfer information when appropriate. To keep it from being burdensome, there is language giving public bodies an "out" if they do not have the technical capability to send the information electronically. The content of this bill has already been carefully considered with a tremendous amount of input and testimony, despite claims by Senator Carson that more consideration is needed. The complimentary language of HB1069 was part of the discussion during HB1002 negotiations.
To refuse to pass a bill on which there are currently only two technical points of amendment needed to come to an agreement is ludicrous. Those are the points that should have been worked out amongst the committee. Instead, I heard Senators Bradley and Carson raise tangential issues and unsupported examples, essentially revising the Senate's passage of the bill. In the kinds of examples given, we have found that many of the situations cited lack context and that the tools available to those fulfilling (or refusing) difficult requests are not always understood or utilized. Bringing those to the table without details, instead of working in good faith towards a compromise on the existing points of contention shows a lack of good faith.
As the representative of Right to Know NH, I do not support this change in position and am gravely disappointed in the lack of leadership exhibited by the two above-named members of the Senate CoC on Monday.
Katherine Kokko is the president of Right To Know New Hampshire

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