New Hampshire government corruption
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Concord, NH On Wednesday, November 2, 2011 the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued its ruling in David Montenegro v. City of Dover and affirmed the lower courts decision to exempt information on police surveillance systems under the New Hampshire Right to Know Law. The lawsuit was originally filed by Montenegro in January 2010 seeking access to information relating to the capabilities of police surveillance equipment including operation times and recording retention time. In response to the request, the city released redacted information, claiming that parts of the request were exempt under security and police exemptions. The court affirmed this interpretation, stating, "This information is of such substantive detail that it could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law by providing those who wish to engage in criminal activity with the ability to adjust their behaviors in an effort to avoid detection." The court did side with the requester on the issue of job titles and ordered the titles of security monitors to be released under the records act. 
Changes to the state's Meals and Rooms Tax have prompted Moody's Investor Services to downgrade the bonds held on the Verizon Wireless Arena to "Junk Bond" status. The bond rating agency notified the City of Manchester of its decision on November 2. Mayor Frank Guinta warned Governor John Lynch that state action was needed to bolster the bonds and protect the state from legal action by bond holders. 
"A citizen's dogged pursuit of information being withheld by a state agency was recently justified when a judge ruled that state officials knowingly violated the Right-to-Know Law.
Records related to the state purchase of land for an ATV park were improperly kept secret when Fitzwilliam resident Andrew Walters was denied access to the documents, a superior court judge ruled last month."
Updated from, New Hampshire Lawsuit Highlights Problems with Record Requests for Electronic Documents Keene, New Hampshire This week, Vermont Judge John P. Arnold delivered his ruling in Nolen v. City of Keene, determining that Keene had complied with open records law by delivering the information Nolen had requested in paper copy. The judge stated that the city need only provide the records and was not required by New Hampshire law to comply with Nolen's request for digital copies of the records.  This decision established the precedent that public agencies are not obligated to comply with records requests for a specific format, a topic that has recently been heavily debated in other states. It is unknown if an appeal will follow.
The ruling blocked the state from balancing its budget with a medical malpractice fund of $110 million. Belknap County Superior Court Justice Kathleen McGuire said the state had no right to the funds because they belong to the Joint Underwriting Association.
The state will probably appeal, however the $110 million may not be touched. The budget writers assumed the money would balance both the last budget and the current one. The state is not legally obligated to operate with a balanced budget, but they may hold a special session to make up the difference.
In February, Charlie Arlinghaus predicted this outcome.
"E-mails a state Republican Committee official received in response to a Right-to-Know request filed earlier this month may continue to raise questions about how state legislators are interpreting the law regarding electronic communications.
Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the New Hampshire Republican Committee, said he filed three Right-to-Know requests... [seeking] all documents and e-mails pertaining to a $72,000 women's bathroom project approved by the Legislature in order to see how Larsen and Norelli were involved."
"Several Right-to-Know law advocates say they believe legislators who turned down a request for their electronic correspondence correctly interpreted the state statute, but some also say the law may need to be clarified.
State Rep. Jim Garrity, R&D-Atkinson, who chairs the state's Right-to-Know Oversight Commission, said he agreed with the response to a March 27 Sunday Citizen Right to Know request. The response came in the form of two letters, one written by House Counsel David Frydman and the other by Senate Counsel Jeffrey Meyers."
"Four House lawmakers and two state senators on Friday rejected the Sunday Citizen's requests for their electronic correspondence on the grounds that it is not covered by the state's Right to Know law.
One letter, prepared by House Legal Counsel David Frydman, was signed by House Speaker Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, Rep. Marjorie Smith, D-Durham, Rep. Alida Millham, R-Gilford, and Rep. Beth Arsenault, D-Laconia. The newspaper received that letter on Friday."
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