Bill calls for look at public records exemptions

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The Vermont Senate this week is expected to take up a bill calling for a systematic look at the exceptions to Vermont’s public records law.

The law had 16 exemptions — or reasons a government agency could deny access to records — when it passed in the 1970s. But a study by the Legislative Council finds that number of exemptions has grown to 207.

A bill drafted by the Senate Government Operations Committee calls for creation of a new, special committee to look at the exemptions and see whether they’re all really needed.

The special panel also is to look at the growing government practice of charging people asking for records fees that can mount into the thousands of dollars.

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