Governor Peter Shumlin says he may stop short of insisting on a change in state law that would require judges to award attorney’s fees to people requesting public records when government agencies turn them away and later are overruled by the courts.
Publishers of many of Vermont’s small newspapers and citizen activists have complained for years they often are kept from fighting for access to government documents and meetings by the high cost of hiring lawyers.
Government officials who engage in such legal battles have the costs paid by taxpayers.
The issue came up for extensive discussion during a meeting yesterday of the Vermont Press Association.
Shumlin wants to assure association members he’ll move the state in a direction the press group would find favorable. He says he favors open government because his administration has "nothing to hide."