RAYMOND – This article is a continuation on 2012 legislation that was passed and becomes the law; effective dates of these new laws are not the same.
Increasing Transparency and Open Government:
- Opens up records of annulments of crimes.
- Requires that state agencies post their spending information on the State Website.
- Allows access to accident reports involving any state owned vehicles.
- Requires state government consider open source software; promote the use of open data formats by state agencies, and directs the Commissioner of Information Technology to develop a state wide information policy based on principles of open government data.
- Requires persons petitioning the Commissioner of Safety, requesting a change of use, or a restriction of the use, of any public waters, must notify neighbors of their request.
- Requires increased transparency standards requirements for the state Transparency Website Oversight Committee.
- Allows the negotiator for each party to talk directly, in a closed session, to the board of the public employer, or to the employees, respectively, during a collective bargaining process. The benefit to the negotiating parties is that legal costs may be reduced if this direct communication breaks impasses and enables the parties to reach agreement without having to go through mediation and fact-finding.
- Allows a parent or a legal guardian, access to their child’s, or a person 18 years of age, access to their own, of the “unique pupil identification and data”, from their school.
- Allows towns to include any tax impact on special warrant articles.
- Strengthens penalties under the Right-to-Know law violations.
- Amends state statute RSA-541-A (Administrative Procedure Act) requiring public access to any document and internet content that is incorporated by reference in administrative rules.
- Amends RSA-6 requiring the Commissioner of Administrative Services issue an “Annual Compilation of Dedicated Funds Report” on or before November 15th of each year.
- Requires the legislative Ethics Committee to make committee records, rules, and guidelines available on the website maintained by the committee.
- Allows communities to require vote tallies of budget preparation of the budget committee, town, school district, or village district, to be printed next to warrant article or the affected ballot question.
- Requires the Attorney General to submit regular reports on election complaints to the General Court.
- Requires all contracts entered into by the state as a result of requests for proposals to be posted on the state transparency website.
- Requires expanded state employee salary information on the transparency website to include: list of all state employee positions, state agency, accounting unit, job title, position number, and whether the position is currently vacant or filled.
- Extends the Right-To-Know law to libraries.
- Requires Public Utilities Commission contracts to be approved by the Governor and Executive Council.
- Requires Emergency Response and Public Safety workers to notify public health officials of exposure to infectious diseases.
As you can see, many bills passed this year, and went into law, truly supporting the best interests of the people of this great state, where they have the opportunity to see exactly what is going on in their state government. I’m not done yet. More to follow next week.
(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)