Never Trust Politicians Who Want To Hide What They Are Doing

Some State Representatives want to "FIX" the Right to Know Law, RSA 91-A, by gutting a simple word "AGENCY," from the text of the statute.

The House Bill is known (although the sponsors probably would like to keep this quiet as well) as HB 53.

The sponsors are: Rep. Kimberly Casey, Rock 11; Rep. James Garrity, Rock 6

Here is some of the sneaky language in the proposed bill:

[struck language]

1 Right-to-Know Law; Definition of “Public Body.” Amend RSA 91-A:1-a, VI(d) to read as follows:

(d) Any legislative body, governing body, board, commission[,] or committee[, agency, or authority] of any county, town, municipal corporation, school district, school administrative unit, chartered public school, or other political subdivision, or any committee, subcommittee, or subordinate body thereof, or advisory committee thereto.

Let’s see if this is a MINOR change.

TITLE I
THE STATE AND ITS GOVERNMENT

CHAPTER 21-G
ORGANIZATION OF EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Section 21-G:1

21-G:1 Short Title. – This chapter shall be known as the Executive Branch Reorganization Act of 1983.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:2

21-G:2 Declaration of Findings. – The general court finds that:
I. The state constitution provides for the separation of powers within state government among the legislative, the executive and the judicial branches.
The legislative branch has the broad objective and responsibility to determine policies and programs and to review and oversee program performance and implementation of policy previously established. The executive branch has the responsibility to implement and administer these policies and programs. The judicial branch has the responsibility to resolve disputes arising from the interpretation or application of the laws;
II. The growth of the executive branch from 32 constitutional offices and state agencies in 1900, to 96 in 1970, to more than 140 in 1983, has created an unwieldy and confusing state government structure. This structure has developed piecemeal, resulting in lack of policy coordination, excessive costs, inefficient use of personnel and capital,
overlapping agency jurisdictions,
duplication, and the ineffective use of the state's limited financial resources; and
III. The size and complexity of the executive branch, including the unnecessarily confusing current array of administrative terms, titles, and appointment processes, has unintentionally altered some of the constitutionally contemplated checks and balances by an unplanned shifting of policy direction and implementation toward
the independent, non-elected executive branch agencies. This reduces the ability of the legislature to assert its primary role as policymaker and the ability of the governor to manage the implementation of that policy.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:3

21-G:3 Declaration of Policy. – The general court declares the following to be the policy and objectives of the state:
I. The organization of state government should assure its responsiveness to popular control, as expressed through the state's elected officials. It is the goal of reorganization to improve legislative policymaking capability and to improve the administrative capability of the executive to carry out these policies.
II. The organization of state government should facilitate communication between citizens and government. It is the goal of reorganization through coordination of related programs in function-oriented departments to improve public understanding of government programs and policies, by more clearly defining the jurisdiction of departments, and to improve the relationships between citizens
and administrative agencies.
III. The organization of state government should assure efficient, effective and responsive administration of the policies established by the legislature. It is the goal of reorganization to improve the coordination and management of state services by establishing clear lines of authority, responsibility and accountability for program implementation within the executive branch.
IV. The governor should meet regularly with the heads of all agencies. Communication and exchange of information and ideas among the agency heads, as well as between agency heads and the governor, should be the goal of these meetings.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:4

21-G:4 Guidelines for Reorganization. – The following provisions shall serve as general guidelines for accomplishing executive branch reorganization consistent with the policy and objectives of the state:
I. In order to allow the chief executive to efficiently and effectively implement legislative policy and programs, the governor should be provided with a manageable administrative structure and the authority to direct its operations.
II. The large number of
existing executive branch agencies,
departments, boards, commissions, authorities and institutions should be significantly reduced by consolidating them into a reasonable number of departments.
III. The consolidation of agencies in the executive branch should be on a functional basis, so that programs can be coordinated and comprehensive planning can be undertaken.
IV. Structural reorganization should be a continuing process through careful executive and legislative appraisal of the placement of proposed new programs, and the coordination of existing programs, in response to changing public needs.
V. There should be a uniform process for administrative appeals to an impartial body provided for each department established following July 1, 1983.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:5

21-G:5 Definitions. – In this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
I. "Administratively attached agency'' means an independent agency linked to a department for purposes of reporting and sharing support services.
II. "Advisory committee'' means a committee established pursuant to RSA 21-G:11 which shall furnish advice, gather information, make recommendations and perform such other activities as may be instructed or as may be necessary to fulfill advisory functions or to comply with federal funding requirements, but which shall not administer a program or function or set policy.
III. "Agency'' means any department, commission, board, institution, bureau, office, or other entity, by whatever name called, other than the legislative and judicial branches of state government, established in the state constitution, statutes, session laws or executive orders
.
IV. "Bureau'' means the principal unit within a division, which is directly responsible to the division level and is concerned with individual program management.
V. "Commissioner'' means the individual in charge of the operations of a department, who is directly responsible to the governor.
VI. "Department'' means the principal administrative unit within the executive branch of state government, which is concerned with broad functional responsibilities.
VII. "Division'' means the principal unit within a department, which is directly responsible to the department level and is concerned with related major functional programs and activities.
VIII. "Field operations'' means district or area offices which may combine division, bureau and section functions.
IX. "Section'' means the principal unit of a bureau, which is directly responsible to the bureau level and is concerned with direct provision of services to the public
or other state agencies.
X. "Subsection'' means the principal unit of a section which is directly responsible to the section level and is concerned with direct provision of services to the public or other state agencies.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:5-a

21-G:5-a Statements of Financial Interest for Board and Commission Members. – [Repealed 2006, 21:10, II, eff. June 2, 2006.]

 

Section 21-G:6

21-G:6 Structure of Executive Branch. – All departments of the state established following July 1, 1983, shall be structured as follows, unless otherwise provided for specifically by the general court:
I. The department shall be the principal administrative unit of the executive branch, and each department shall be headed by a commissioner. Each department shall bear a title beginning with the words "The State of New Hampshire Department of ..........'' and continuing with the name designated for the department.
II. All departments shall adhere to the following operational structure and standard terminology:
(a) The principal unit of the department shall be the division; and each division shall be headed by a director.
(b) The principal unit of the division shall be the bureau; and each bureau shall be headed by an administrator.
(c) The principal unit of the bureau shall be the section; and each section shall be headed by a supervisor.
(d) If further subdivision is necessary, sections may be divided into subsections; and each subsection shall be headed by a chief.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:7

21-G:7 Field Operations. –
I. A department shall not establish field operations unless specifically authorized to do so by statute; except that temporary field operations may be established upon a specific written declaration by the governor and council that an emergency exists. A temporary field operation shall not be continued beyond the adjournment of the next regular or special session of the general court following a declaration of emergency.
II. Legislative proposals by a department seeking establishment of field operations shall include evidence of the commissioner's written certification to the governor and council that all
other agencies with field operations in the same vicinity of the state have been consulted to determine the feasibility of combining such field operations.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

(f) Provide cooperation, at the request of the heads of administratively attached agencies, in order to:
(1) Minimize or eliminate duplication of services and jurisdictional conflicts;
(2) Coordinate activities and resolve problems of mutual concern; and
(3) Resolve by agreement the manner and extent to which the department shall provide budgeting, recordkeeping and related clerical assistance to
administratively attached agencies.
(g) Give bond, and require division directors to give bond, to the state as specified in RSA 93-B.
(h) Where functions of departments overlap or a function assigned to one department could better be performed by another department, a commissioner shall recommend appropriate legislation to the next regular session of the legislature.
III. The commissioner may adopt such reasonable internal practices and procedures as may be necessary to carry out the duties of the department and its divisions consistent with this chapter.
IV. The commissioner may not accept, on behalf of the department, any grants of money without first obtaining the express consent of the legislative fiscal committee established by RSA 14:30-a.
V. It shall be the duty of all commissioners of executive branch agencies to continually reassess the organization of
their agencies, especially with regard to new programs and functions assigned to them, and to propose legislation to the general court to accomplish internal reorganizations deemed desirable.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1. 1995, 226:3-6, eff. Aug. 13, 1995.

 

Section 21-G:10

21-G:10 Administratively Attached Agency. –
I. An agency
administratively attached to a department shall:
(a) Exercise its powers, duties, functions and responsibilities independently of the department and without approval or control of the department, except as otherwise specifically provided by statute;
(b) Submit the budget requests required by RSA 9 through the department; and
(c) Submit reports required of it by law or by the governor through the department.
II. The department to which
an agency
is administratively attached shall:
(a) Provide budgeting, recordkeeping and related administrative and clerical assistance to
the agency, if mutually agreed to in writing, provided that the agency
shall pay the department on a cost allocation basis for such services;
(b) Include
the agency's budget requests
, as submitted and without changes, in the departmental budget.
III. Unless otherwise provided by law,
the administratively attached agency shall hire personnel in accordance with state personnel laws.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:11

21-G:11 Advisory Committees. –
I. A commissioner, with the approval of the governor, may create advisory committees.
II. Each department shall file a record of each advisory committee created with the secretary of state, showing the committee's:
(a) Name;
(b) Composition;
(c) Appointed members' names and addresses; and
(d) Purpose and term of existence.
III. The governor shall appoint the members of each advisory committee, with the advice of the commissioner, who shall have prescribed the functions of each advisory committee created.
IV. Each advisory committee created under this section shall be designated by name as follows: the ".......... advisory committee of the department of ...''.
V. A majority of the membership of an advisory committee shall constitute a quorum.
VI. No member of an advisory committee shall receive any compensation, for services rendered the advisory committee, except mileage payments at the state employee rate, within the limits of the department's appropriations.
VII. Each advisory committee created under this section after July 1, 1995, shall include a provision for its termination after a 3-year period unless continued by legislative action.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1. 1995, 257:1, eff. July 1, 1995.

 

Section 21-G:12

21-G:12 Conflicts of Law. – If the provisions of RSA 21-G:9 or RSA 21-G:11 conflict with the powers and duties specifically granted by statute to a particular commissioner, the specific powers and duties shall control. If the provisions of RSA 21-G:9 or RSA 21-G:11 conflict with other statutes specifically limiting the powers of a commissioner, the specific limitations shall control.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:13

21-G:13 Transfer of Functions of Abolished Agencies. –
I. The powers, duties, functions, responsibilities, programs and operations of
each agency
abolished pursuant to acts of the general court relative to executive branch reorganization shall, upon and after the date of each abolition, be exercised and performed by the commissioner of the department to which such powers, duties, functions and responsibilities are transferred.
II. The commissioner of each department shall have full authority, consistent with this chapter, to assign powers, duties, functions, responsibilities, programs and operations of abolished
agencies
to any division within the department, or may determine that any or all of them shall be exercised in such other manner as shall be allowed by law. The commissioner shall make such assignment or determination in accordance with the general functions of each division, as established by the general court.
III. Upon the abolition of each
agency whose powers, duties, functions and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with this section, any pending or unfinished business of each such agency shall be taken over and be completed by the department to which transferred and its commissioner, with the same power and authority as that of the agency abolished. The department and its commissioner shall be the successor in every way to each such agency,
and every act done by the department or its commissioner in the exercise of the functions of each shall be deemed to have the same force and effect under any provisions of the constitution and laws in effect on July 1, 1983, as if done by the agency abolished.
IV. Upon the abolition of each
agency whose powers, duties, functions and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with this section, the existing rules of each agency shall continue in full effect, without interruption, as the rules of the department to which those powers, duties, functions and responsibilities have been transferred. Rules so continued shall be effective for the remainder of the period originally established under RSA 541-A:17, I.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1. 1986, 41:32. 1994, 412:4, eff. Aug. 9, 1994.

 

Section 21-G:14

21-G:14 Legal Proceedings and Documents. –
I. For purposes of this section, legal proceeding includes, but is not limited to, any suit, action, incidental demand or action, claim, and any other matter filed or pending before any court,
administrative agency
, or other quasi-judicial body.
II. For purposes of this section, document includes, but is not limited to, any petition, application, exception, motion, rule, answer, citation, notice, return, affidavit, certificate, oath, bond or other security, summons, subpoena, writ, interrogatory, deposition, inventory, appraisal, evidence, court record, instruction, verdict, judgment, order, injunction, confirmation, appointment, warrant, letter, and any other pleading or instrument whatsoever permitted or required in any legal proceeding.
III. Any legal proceeding to which any
agency which is abolished, whose powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, is a party, and which is filed, initiated, or otherwise pending before any court on the effective date of such abolition and transfer, and all documents involved in or affected by such legal proceeding, shall retain their effectiveness and shall be continued in the name of the agency abolished. All further legal proceedings and documents in the continuation, disposition, and enforcement of such legal proceedings shall be in the name of the original party agency which is abolished; and the department to which the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of the agency are transferred shall be substituted for the original party agency without necessity for amendment of any document to substitute the name of the department or the name or title of any subdivision, official, employee, or other agent or representative of the department.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:15

21-G:15 Protection of Obligations. –
I. The general court hereby specifically states that this chapter is in no way and to no extent intended to, nor shall it be construed in any manner to, impair the contractual or other obligations
of any agency abolished by the general court or of the state of New Hampshire. It is hereby specifically provided that all obligations of any agency abolished, whose powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with this chapter, hereafter shall be deemed to be the obligations of the department to which the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of the agency are transferred, and of its commissioner, to the same extent as if originally made by them. In like manner, and in order to prevent any violation of the provisions, terms, or conditions of any gift, donation, deed, will, trust, or other instrument or disposition by which property of any kind has been vested in an agency abolished by the general court, or diversion from the purposes for which such property was thus vested in any such agency, it is hereby specifically provided that each such instrument or disposition hereafter shall be deemed to have been vested in the department to which the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of the agency
are transferred, and its commissioner, in the same manner and to the same extent as if originally so done.
II. The department to which the powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities of each such agency are transferred and its commissioner shall be the successor in every way to each
such agency, including all of the obligations and debts of each such agency. All funds heretofore dedicated by or under authority of the constitution and laws of this state, or any of its subdivisions, to the payment of any bonds issued for construction or improvements for any institution or facility under the control of any such agency shall continue to be collected and dedicated to the payment of those bonds. In like manner, all other dedications and allocations of revenues and sources of revenues heretofore made shall continue in the same manner, to the same extent, and for the same purposes as were provided prior to the enactment of this chapter, and shall so continue, notwithstanding the passage of any laws by the general court relative to reorganization of the executive branch.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:16

21-G:16 Effect on Federal Law. – This chapter and any laws enacted by the general court relative to executive branch reorganization shall not be construed or applied in any way which will prevent full compliance by the state, or any department, office, or agency thereof, with the requirements of any act of the Congress of the United States or any regulation made thereunder by which federal aid or other federal assistance has been or hereafter is made available to this state, or any department, office, agency, or subdivision thereof; and such compliance hereafter shall be accomplished by the commissioner insofar as such compliance affects any abolished agency whose powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and any laws enacted by the general court relative to executive branch reorganization.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:17

21-G:17 Transfer of Property. – All books, papers, records and unexpended appropriations or other funds, actions, and other property of every kind, movable and immovable, real and personal, heretofore possessed, controlled, or used by each agency abolished whose powers, duties, functions and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with this chapter and any laws enacted by the general court relative to executive branch reorganization are hereby transferred to the department to which such powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities are transferred.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:18

21-G:18 Transfer of Employees. – All employees heretofore engaged in the performance of duties in each agency abolished whose powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with this chapter and any laws enacted by the general court relative to executive branch reorganization are hereby transferred to the department to which such powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities are transferred to the extent the commissioner deems necessary to carry out the functions of the abolished agency and shall, insofar as practicable and necessary, continue to perform the duties heretofore performed, subject to applicable personnel statutes.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:19

21-G:19 Reference to Abolished Agency. Wherever any agency abolished, whose powers, duties, functions, and responsibilities are transferred in accordance with this chapter and any laws enacted by the general court relative to executive branch reorganization, is referred to or designated by any law or contract or other document after the effective date of the abolition of such agency, such reference or designation shall be deemed to apply to the department to which the transfer is made or to its commissioner.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.

 

Section 21-G:20

21-G:20 New Agencies and Programs. –
I. After July 1, 1983, no agency, as defined in RSA 21-G:5, III, shall be established unless it shall be structured in accordance with this chapter.
II. After July 1, 1983, no new powers, duties, functions, responsibilities or programs
shall be assigned to any agency, as defined in RSA 21-G:5, III, except an agency which exists on July 1, 1983, or an agency established by the general court in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and any laws enacted by the general court relative to executive branch reorganization.

 

Source. 1983, 372:1, eff. July 1, 1983.