Vermont panel examines public-record laws

from Burlington Free Press:

MONTPELIER — It's well-established in law that most government records are public, but what about the records of contractors who do government's business? If a private company is housing state prisoners, how much of that company's records are available to state residents?

Those are among the questions that a special panel of lawmakers mulled [July 27] as they met for the first time to try to tackle public-records issues left undone during the legislative session that ended in May. The summer study committee also plans to study exemptions to the state public-records laws — numbering 239 — and determine if they are needed.

The six-member committee plans to delve more deeply into the exemptions at its next meeting in September, but Wednesday the panel wrestled with what to do about private contractors that essentially are fulfilling the function of government. Lawmakers left the issue out of legislation passed this year after running into complications.

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