On Wednesday, the Legislature will decide whether or not the New Hampshire Right-to-Know Law should be expanded to cover access to records of large nonprofits that receive government funding. The bill, HB1356, expands the law to include nonprofit organizations that bring in more than $100,000 annually and receive more than 50 percent of their money from a state or local government.
The logic of this bill is easy to understand. Currently, these nonprofits are not accountable to the public or the press on how they spend our tax dollars. Often when the public and the press do try to investigate the disbursement of taxpayer dollars, these nonprofits refuse to tell us how they spent our money.
Some say forcing nonprofits to comply with 91A will be burdensome to small nonprofits. However, the truth is that the law only covers about 21 percent of the state’s largest organizations, according to The New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits. The law also does not force nonprofits to comply with the open meeting portion of the law.
HB1356 has bi-partisan support from good government types, conservative budget hawks, the state employees union, and journalists like me. The Judiciary Committee recommended that the bill ought to pass. Please contact your state representatives and ask them to vote Yes on HB 1356.
In these difficult economic times, we need to make sure every last red cent of our tax dollars is spent sensibly and wisely and the only way to ensure that is accountability under 91A.