There seems to be no absolute freedom of information. Even President Lyndon B. Johnson's declaration made on July 4, 1966, as he signed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) into law, indicates the limitations accompanying most right-to-know laws from their inception. A delicate balance must be struck between the public's access to public business and the public interest, between the public's access and a person's right to privacy, and, at the federal level, between the public's access and national security. Maine also crafted a limited freedom of information law, the Freedom of Access Act ("FOAA" or "the Act"), seven years before the FOIA, in which executive sessions were the legislative trade-off for its enactment. Yet, from 1959 until 1975, the year it was drastically amended, access in Maine was more expansive than at any other time in its history. Not only was the statute liberally drafted, but there were fewer statutory exceptions, the back-door way of limiting public access to records. Those exceptions have swollen to more than one hundred, severely curtailing public access to what would otherwise be public business. This Comment will analyze the evolution of this "standard of secrecy" in Maine, gauged by the state's right-to-know law," from common law to the most recent amendments made in the Freedom of Access Act in 1989.
Anne C. Lucey,
A Section-By-Section Analysis of Maine's Freedom of Access Act,
Me. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.mainelaw.maine.edu/mlr/vol43/iss1/9