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Know what are my rights are to access public records and documents?
February 23, 2012 - Vermont has a Public Documents Law providing that all written or recorded matters produced or acquired in the course of the business of a state agency are public documents. However, the law provides that a number of specifically listed types of documents are not available to the public. The list of types of documents not available to the public includes: documents made confidential by any law, documents which are recognized as being privileged (such as medical records), documents dealing with criminal investigations, tax returns, trade secrets, records relevant to active litigation, records relevant to the negotiation of contracts, and records containing certain types of personal or financial information about individuals.
The procedures for requesting public documents are set out in the Public Documents Law. Generally speaking, you are probably best advised to put your request in writing and mail it to the agency in question, although many agencies are well equipped to handle in-person requests. If you believe you were wrongly denied a request for public records, you may appeal first to the head of the agency and, if still dissatisfied, may then file an appeal in Superior Court. The Public Documents Law is found at 1 V.S.A. Sections 315 through 320.