Magazine article Information Management

Vermont Considers Office to Enforce Records Law

Magazine article Information Management

Vermont Considers Office to Enforce Records Law

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Vermont is considering establishing an ombudsman or government transparency office to help enforce its public records law and the 250 exemptions attached to it.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, the office would help citizens navigate their rights under the law, review the validity of the law's some 250 exemptions, and make agencies pay the legal fees of people who successfully sue to access records.

"What we have to do is create a less litigious area in state government on public record management, but we also have to create a less intimidating process," said Secretary of State Jim Condos, testifying before a legislative committee in February.

Last year, state government received about 1,900 public records requests, according to Gov. Peter Shumlin's counsel Beth Robinson.

According to the AP report, under the bill introduced by state representative Donna Sweaney:

* A "government transparency office" would be established within the office of the secretary of state to manage and enforce the requirements of the public records act. …

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