MAY 2014

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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 
First Amendment 
of U.S. Constitution


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We welcome contributions to The NEFAC Report from journalists, lawyers, academics or other advocates of government transparency. If you have something to add to the conversation, please let us know. Your stories, experiences and commentaries have broad appeal and value.
Submissions can be emailed to: [email protected]
Vermont Needs to Reconsider 
Open Meeting Law, Increase Penalties 
and Eliminate 'Do-Overs'

This past legislative session, lawmakers in Vermont passed a bill that they hope will improve the public's ability to know what state and local governments are doing. But even as the bill headed to Gov. Peter Shumlin for signature, Secretary of State Jim Condos called out a local government body for voting on a matter by e-mail, without consulting its constituents or holding an emergency meeting in public as the law required. [More]

Connecticut's FOI Loophole: 
Third-Party Contracts

In June 2013, a Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission ruling kept secret a contract detailing a new relationship forged by the University of Connecticut and Webster Bank. The ruling highlights questions that journalists must grapple with in the age of rising higher-education costs and the virtual arms race among universities to outspend one another to attract the nation's best and brightest. [Part 1] [Part 2] 
The Providence Journal to Appeal 
Chafee Decision in 'First Significant Test' 
of Revised Access Law

The Providence Journal will appeal a ruling denying the newspaper access to records related to a state police investigation into a 2012 graduation party hosted by Gov. Lincoln Chafee's teenage son that left a young partygoer hospitalized and the governor's son accused of violating a state law that prohibits providing alcohol to minors. [More] 
   Other New England FOI 
   and First Amendment News