Vermont House passes government transparency bill

first_imgThe Vermont House of Representatives has passed H.73, a bill increases transparency and accountability in state government.  The legislation will provide for greater access to public records and allow for better enforcement of the Vermont Public Records Act (PRA). The public records law as it currently stands is very complex and full of exemptions, making  enforcement inconsistent across agencies.  H. 73 seeks to make access to public records more readily available and the process understandable. The bill also sets up a process to review the necessity of current exemptions. ‘The current public records act is confusing for both individuals requesting access to records and those agencies providing the records,’ said Speaker Shap Smith.  ‘By clarifying current law, state government  will be more responsive to its citizens’with transparency, efficiency and accountability.’ Designed to address the current shortfalls of the PRA, H.73 contains the following provisions: ·        Creates public records training for all public agencies;·        Establishes a resource at the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration to provide guidance and advice to municipalities for complying with the PRA;·        Clarifies the agencies’ responsibilities to respond to a records request;·        Forms a study committee to evaluate and recommend changes to the 215 exemptions of the PRA. The bill advanced in the House to third reading yesterday, 134-5.  The bill passed this afternoon on a strong voice vote.  It has been sent to the Senate for its consideration.Source: Speaker’s office. 5.7.2011last_img read more