Tribes ordered to release some documents
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MAY 2, 2001

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday ruled that the Penobscot Nation and Passamaquoddy Tribe are subject to a state freedom of information act under certain conditions.

When the tribes act as municipal governments, the act applies. When they are acting on self-government issues, the act doesn't.

Any case in between or out of the categories, the courts will decide the applicability of the law.

The main result of the ruling is that the tribes must make public communications they made with the state or federal government concerning water quality. The court said water quality is more than a self-government issue and one in which all citizens of the state are interested.

But the tribes don't have to turn over minutes, agendas or notes regarding tribal council meetings, because those fall under the self-government rubric.

Get the Story:
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