Published On: Mon, Sep 14th, 2015

Legislators are back on Beacon Hill. Tell them to fix our broken public records law first thing!

Please urge leadership to make fixing the public records law priority one now that August break is over. It’s time to pass the bill without delay and without watering it down.

Public records reform has waited long enough–since 1973. The law is plainly broken. High costs and zero accountability have made Massachusetts notorious and earned us an “F” grade.

Concerned citizens have a need and right to know how our government is working. The law should facilitate access, not provide officials the tools to make public information unaffordable and inaccessible.

Please ask leadership to swiftly pass H.3665, which will:

(1) Bring Massachusetts in line with 47 other states and federal law–by providing attorney’s fees when agencies unlawfully deny access to public information, giving “teeth” to enforcement and promoting compliance with the law.

(2) Make records affordable so large fees don’t block access, and reduce costs for information requests in the public interest.

(3) Make computer records available in electronic form, and make more public documents available online.

(4) Designate a point person at government agencies–to streamline the access process and make responses more efficient.

The proposed law would not change any rules about what information has to be made public. But it would make sure the law is actually followed and guarantee that the public’s right to that information is more than mere words on paper.

Please do all that you can to support this legislation and pass it quickly–without amendments to weaken it or undercut its purpose.

Thank you for helping to turn around our state’s “F” grade on public records.