Towns Wary Of Changes To Vermont Records Law

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New changes to the state’s public records law are being hailed as big improvements in government transparency, but town officials remain leery about the demands they’ll face as a result.

A bill passed last week by the Legislature and awaiting Governor Peter Shumlin’s signature calls for judges to award attorney’s fees to people and organizations that effectively challenge public records request denials. Under existing law, judges had the power to do so but weren’t required.

Town officials facing the prospect of having to pay other people’s legal fees are leery of the new requirement, which they say could be unfair in cases where they believe they’re acting in good faith but lose in court.

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