Any person may, during customary office hours, inspect or copy any public record or document of any agency of the state or political subdivision of the state including towns, cities, villages, counties, schools and all their subdivisions.
EXCEPTIONS (1 V.S.A. § 317)
"Public record or document" means all papers, documents, machine readable materials or any other written or recorded matters, regardless of their physical form or characteristics, produced or acquired in the course of agency business. Individual salaries and benefits of and salary schedules relating to elected or appointed officials and employees of public agencies shall not be exempt from public inspection and copying. The following public records ARE EXEMPT (See statute for complete description.):
(1) records designated confidential by law;
(2) records, which by law may only be disclosed to specifically designated persons;
(3) records, which, if made public under this law, would cause the custodian to violate duly, adopted standards of ethics or conduct for any profession regulated by the state;
(4) records, which, if made public under this law, would cause the custodian to violate any statutory or common law, privilege;
(5) records dealing with the detection and investigation of a crime. This does not exempt records of the initial arrest of a person and the charge;
(6) tax returns and related documents;
(7) personal documents relating to an individual; how-ever, information in an individual's personnel file shall be available to that individual or his/her designated representative;
(8) test questions and scoring keys;
(9) trade secrets;
(10) lists of names compiled or obtained by a public agency when disclosure would violate a person's right to privacy or produce public or private gain, unless the lists are made available to the public by law;
(11) student records at educational institutions funded wholly or in part by state revenue;
(12) records concerning formulation of policy if disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;
(13) information pertaining to the location of real or personal property for public agency purposes prior to public announcement of the project, and information pertaining to appraisals or purchase price of real or personal property for public purposes prior to the formal award of contracts thereof;
(14) records relating to pending litigation involving the public agency, until ruled discoverable or litigation has ended;
(15) records relating to negotiation of contracts including, but not limited to, public employee collective bargaining agreements;
(16) voluntary information provided by an individual, corporation, organization, partnership, or any other entity before the enactment of this law; and
(17) records within or between departments, which are preliminary to determination of policy or precede presentation of the budget;
(18) records of the office of internal investigation of the department of public safety;
(19) records relating to the identity of library patrons or the identity of library patrons in regard to the circulation of library materials; and
(20) information which would reveal the location of archeological sites and underwater historic properties.
(21) records of, or internal materials prepared for, the deliberations of any public agency acting in a judicial or quasijudicial capacity;
(22) passwords, access codes, user identifications, security procedures and similar information where disclosure would threaten safety of persons or security of public property;
(23) information and records provided to the department of banking, insurance, securities and health care administration by an individual for the purposes of having the department assist with resolving disputes with regulated companies.
(24) information and records provided to the department of public service to resolve a dispute with a regulated utility or other individual.
PROCEDURE (1 V.S.A. § 318)
Upon request, the custodian of a public record shall promptly produce the record unless:
(1) it is in active use, or in storage, or unusual circumstances make a delay necessary before the material is available;
(2) the custodian considers the record exempt from inspection;
(3) the record does not exist under the name given or any other name known by the custodian.
The custodian shall certify in writing his or her reasons for denying or delaying access to the record.
COPYING COSTS (1 V.S.A. § 316)
Unless a different fee has been established by law, the person requesting the copy may be charged the actual cost of providing the copy plus the cost of mailing or transmitting the record by facsimile or other electronic means. If the legislative body fails to establish a schedule of public records charges, any actual costs imposed by the municipality must be in accordance with the schedule of charges established by the secretary of state.
Local officials can contact VLCT at (802) 229-9111 or email@example.com