NH Supreme Court: Law Requires Access To Public Information In Electronic Formats

Apr 19, 2016

New Hampshire's highest court has clarified the state's right-to-know law. 

The ruling came in a case involving Donna Green, Sandown's representative on the Timberlane Regional School Board.

Last year, Green sought budget documents from SAU 55.

Green  was told she could inspect them at the district's offices and pay to copy them, but was denied them when she asked for them in a digital format.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge David Anderson, sided with district administrators, ruling that the right to know law permits officials to provide public documents in electronic or paper form.

But the Supreme Court disagreed.

Writing for the court, Justice Jim Bassett, said the dissemination of public information in commonly used electronic formats "ensures the greatest degree of openness and access' and 'greatest amount of public access to the decisions made by public officials."

The ruling adds that if the legislatures disagrees with the court's interpretation of the right-to-know statute, it is free to amend the law.