APRA Watch: RI taking its time on compassion docsMarch 25th, 2011 at 12:44 pm by Ted Nesi under General Talk, Nesi's Notes
After the Department of Health picked three winners from the 18 applicants who wanted to sell medical marijuana at Rhode Island’s first compassion centers, officials there refused to name the other six applicants it found to be qualified or release the scores each received, despite my colleague Walt Buteau’s request.
The department’s spokeswoman, Annemarie Beardsworth, told me its legal counsel had determined that “individual scores of the applicants are considered to be part of the deliberative process and therefore are not public record.”
“Not public record,” eh? Them’s fightin’ words. (Not that I blame Beardsworth, who’s just the messenger here.) So on Monday I filed a formal APRA request to obtain the compassion center documents. Under Section 7 of Rhode Island’s Access to Public Records Act, the department then had 10 days – until April 4 – to respond.
Happily, I received a response today. Less happily, it informed me the department is exercising its right to a 30-day extension under the same section of the law.
The reason cited was “the nature of the materials requested and the complexity of the issues that are raised relating to your request,” Adelita Orefice, a veteran bureaucrat who’s now executive director of the department’s Division of Environmental Health Services and Regulation, told me in her letter.
The new deadline is May 2. I’ll keep you posted.
More public records coverage on Nesi’s Notes:
- With no info-nudists, RI needs public records laws (March 21)
- There’s a reason we call them ‘public’ records (Jan. 13)
- RI public records act enshrines the right to ‘No’ (Jan. 6)