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Friday, September 19, 2008

Vermont Legislative Council chief says making certain e-mails public could infringe on rights

Another open records debate over e-mails.

In Vermont, the legislature has a policy of deleting e-mails after 90 days. Therefore, when a teacher requested records of communication concerning a school funding bill, none were available.

The Legislative Council is also arguing that communication between constituents and individual lawmakers are not open records and that making them public could infringe upon the right of constituents to petition their government.
Curt Hier has been trying to find out if a teachers' union influenced lawmakers' votes on a school funding bill, but says his requests for public records from the Vermont Legislature have produced nothing but frustration.

Hier, a Fair Haven teacher who heads school reform group First Class Education-Vermont, said he has been trying to investigate the Vermont National Education Association's failed efforts to get lawmakers to repeal a 2007 law designed to put the brakes on rising school costs.

"I've gotten a whole lot of different stories," Hier said. "All the roadblocks I see lead me to believe there might very well be some embarrassing e-mails to be had."
More here.

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