President returns laws on public data, chambers to parliament for reconsideration

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President János Áder has returned to parliament for reconsideration two recently amended laws, one regulating access to data of public interest and the other easing the rules for conflicts of interest affecting agricultural chamber officials. Parliament approved in an accelerated procedure on April 30 a bill that preserves the deepest access to data of public interest exclusively for supervisory authorities, such as the State Audit Office (ÁSz) and the Government Control Office (KEHI). It also allows public organizations from which data is requested to ask that requests be rewritten if they are so general, or so detailed, as to hinder their effective operation. Governing Fidesz said the law seeks to prevent “abuse of data requests” that hinder the operation of the data-handling organizations. Critics, however, said the law could potentially limit access to data of public interest. The other law, approved on April 29, stipulates that the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development can now also appoint a chairman or deputy chair from among the heads of its regional organizations as parliament recently cancelled the regulations that disallowed this.

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