The good folks at Right to Know NH report that Governor Hassan has signed HB 606 and HB 285 into law:
Gov. Maggie Hassan signed HB285, so this bill is now law. The law is chapter 280 of this year’s session and it took effect June 21, 2016, the date it was signed. This law allows non-public meetings to consider verbal or written legal advice. Right to Know NH opposed this bill.
Gov. Maggie Hassan signed HB606, so this bill is now law. The law is chapter 283 of this year’s session and it took effect June 21, 2016, the date it was signed. This law clarifies that no fees may be charged to inspect or deliver records when no copies are made. Right to Know NH supported this bill.
As previously reported, while Tuftonboro in practice has been making electronic copies available at no charge, the selectmen still need to revise the official policy.
The Tuftonboro selectmen hastily scheduled a May 13 public meeting in order to consider written legal advice from their attorney, Rick Sager. While they have refused to reveal the content of his memo, the meeting’s minutes state that he advised them to “divorce” themselves from the operation of the town cemeteries. The selectmen required Sager’s legal advice because they broke the law on April 25 by usurping the cemetery trustees’ authority to operate the town cemeteries. The selectmen’s ordinary practice is to send out an email to a list of subscribers giving notice of scheduled meetings. (Anyone can sign up for the list at tuftonboro.org.) However, for this non-regular meeting on May 13, the selectmen did not send out an email. As a result, no member of the public, not even the videographer, attended that meeting. That was undoubtedly the selectmen’s intent in breaking with their normal habit of sending out an email with a meeting agenda. To be clear, the selectmen met the letter of the law by posting a paper notice at the Tuftonboro General Store Post Office. When asked on June 6 if the selectmen had simply forgotten to send out the email notice due to the May 13 meeting being an impromptu, non-regular meeting, chairman Carolyn Sundquist robotically replied multiple times that the meeting had been properly noticed.
With HB 285 now signed into law, the selectmen will be able to hold non-public meetings to review verbal or written legal advice, and will not have to go through the kabuki theater of holding a “public” meeting that they engineer in such a way that no members of the public show up.Published in