We cannot today take a definite position on this bill, not having had time to do the necessary research on its implications and consequences. We’re still in the process of gathering all of the bills we need to look at and haven’t had the time to really study any of them.
I’ve had to place a red flag on this bill, nevertheless. Changing the wording in Section I. (a), deleting the word “law” and replacing it with “provision in this chapter” is no minor change. Now, exceptions to disclosure in other state and federal laws will need to be honored, which can only narrow the amount and kind of information available. We would have to know the amendment’s true impact on the public’s right of access to government information. At this point, we can only rely on you, the lawmakers, to make sure that the public’s right to information is not curtailed except where absolutely necessary.
Access to government information is necessary to participatory democracy. A public that is deprived of meaningful information is easily manipulated, which goes against all of the principles of a true democracy. To the extent that government withholds information, it loses credibility and therefore the people’s trust. We don’t need more of that.
Thank you for this opportunity to testify on this bill.