Vermonters shouldn’t have to pay for access to their government’s public records. Government transparency is far too important to be revoked by government agencies when they feel inconvenienced.
Generous access to public records is rooted in the Vermont Constitution, and comes from Vermont statutes:
“It is the policy of this subchapter to provide for free and open examination of records consistent with Chapter I, Article 6 of the Vermont Constitution. Officers of government are trustees and servants of the people and it is in the public interest to enable any person to review and criticize their decisions even though such examination may cause inconvenience or embarrassment. All people, however, have a right to privacy in their personal and economic pursuits, which ought to be protected unless specific information is needed to review the action of a governmental officer.” 1 V.S.A. § 315(a).
Under Vermont’s Public Records Act, government must provide the public with access to its records unless those records are protected from disclosure by the specific exemptions in the Act.