VTDigger Fast Forward Series: Why Isn’t the State an Open Book?

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Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center

100 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

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A free, public event centered on issues at the heart of Vermont's public records law controversy.

About this Event

Vermont's right to know laws are designed to give taxpayers access to information about state and local government.

But the Vermont Attorney General's office and other government officials have used legal exemptions to delay and deny public access to records. Too often, journalists have to sue in order to obtain information that should be freely available to the public.

When government hides, people suffer. The government has withheld records for 18 months regarding a jail superintendent's abuses. That secrecy allowed systemic misconduct to continue unabated for more than a year.

More than 550 local vendors and contractors were out $12M during the state coverup of the fraud at Jay Peak. Had the state released records in 2014 about the extent of the financial improprieties at the resort, companies could have protected themselves from bankruptcies and layoffs.

At VTDigger's next Fast Forward event, "Why isn't the state an open book?" a panel of journalists, government officials and experts will debate a new Vermont Supreme Court ruling that reaffirmed the public has a right to “inspect” documents for free and can only be charged when a “copy” is requested.

What: "Why isn't the state an open book?"

When: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tues., Feb. 18th

Where: The Montpelier Room, Capitol Plaza, Montpelier

Featured speaker Peter Teachout of Vermont Law School will give an update on Vermont’s current public records and exemptions.

Panelists include Rebecca Kelley, communications director, Office of Governor Phil Scott; Jim Condos, Vermont Secretary of State; Charity Clark, chief of staff, Office of Vermont Attorney General; Jay Diaz, an attorney with the ACLU of Vermont.

Sen. Jeanette White (Windham) and Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas (Bradford) will give a legislative update.

This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to let us know you’re coming.

If you have trouble with the RSVP, please contact Liz@vtdigger.org

“Why isn’t the state an open book” is the second in VTDigger’s Fast Forward series of free, public events centered on proposed legislation and critical issues facing the state of Vermont. The next event, “Should Vermont ban vaping?” takes place at 6:30 p.m., Tues., March 24 at Burlington High School.

Event Sponsors: Vermont Natural Resources Council, ACLU Vermont, and Vermont Bar Association

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Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center

100 State Street

Montpelier, VT 05602

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