HJR 2 (2013) established an interim committee to create and recommend a comprehensive public records bill. The intent was to reorganize the current laws dealing with public records maintenance, retention and public release. It was not intended to change current policy on making public records available for public inspection and copying. Unfortunately, the early drafts of this proposed bill may place an added burden on city and town staff in responding to requests for release of public information. MLCT was represented at one of the committee hearings and expressed concern that the draft seemed to require public agencies to do research on public information requests rather than simply making public records available for inspection and copying. The committee acknowledged concern about this unintended possibility. The reorganization of public records laws is admirable but it should not add an unnecessary burden and cost to cities and towns in responding to public information requests.
MLCT will monitor the reorganization of laws dealing with maintenance and retention of public records and local government’s duties on requests for public information.