It’s time to strengthen Maine’s freedom of access law

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Transparency is not a Republican or Democratic value. It must be a fundamental part of government, regardless of which party is in charge at a given moment. Perhaps that’s why lawmakers from both parties recognized that Maine’s Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) needed to be strengthened.

This past week, March 12-18, was Sunshine Week, a national initiative by the American Society of News Editors dedicated to the importance of open government. A recently proposed bill in Augusta reflects this spirit of open government by attempting to ensure that public records requests are met within reasonable time frames, among other steps.

Rep. David Boyer, a Republican from Poland, did introduced legal regulation it would build on existing law and hopefully speed up the public records request process. The FOAA currently requires the relevant public agency responding to a public records request to provide a good-faith estimate of how long and how much it will cost to fulfill the request “within a reasonable time of receipt of the request.” But “reasonable time” is not defined.

It’s time to strengthen Maine’s freedom of access law

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