The Senate accepted the Public & Municipal Affairs Committee’s recommendation to find HB1308 Inexpedient to Legislate on a Voice Vote April 25, effectively ending this session’s initiative to add certain nonprofits to the current Right-to-Know NH statutes.
The bill, as written, targeted ‘quasi-governmental’ nonprofits, but according to Senator Jack Barnes (R- Raymond) it lacked clarity on which organizations would be subject, and it also jeopardized confidential and necessary nonprofit functions.
Center Advocacy Director Michelline Dufort states, “The nonprofit sector is already held to high standards in accountability and transparency. For our members, this proposed legislation never demonstrated exactly why there needs to be an expansion on the measures in place, nor where the line was to be distinctly drawn on which nonprofits would need to comply. That, and the concern around the administrative burden elements, seems to be what brought out many nonprofit organization advocates to testify in opposition.”
Recent measures by the same sponsors have also failed in the legislature. In 2010, a similar, yet broader bill, HB1356, was found Inexpedient to Legislate by the House on a vote of 214-80. That included an amendment that would have narrowed the definition, and yet, it still failed. Also in 2010, HB328, a bill that would have established a committee to study this very issue, was found Inexpedient to Legislate by the Judiciary Committee on a vote of 18-0; the full House accepted that recommendation on a Voice Vote.