Public records — Final votes on critical reform!
We have desperately needed this legislation for a long time. Our existing public records law, which hasn’t been updated since 1973, fails to fulfill its promise of open and transparent government. Massachusetts has consistently received F grades for our extremely weak law, and it’s time to turn that around.
The conference committee has advanced a strong and balanced bill. This legislation has the potential to significantly improve access to public information in the Commonwealth by ensuring that access to public records is real and affordable, and that government agencies meet the law’s requirements.
The bill includes sensible limits on fees charged for public information and reasonable timeframes for responding to requests. And it would bring Massachusetts into the mainstream on enforcement by allowing courts to award attorney fees–like 47 other states and the federal FOIA law–when the law is violated.
It’s time to improve openness and transparency in Massachusetts. Please vote in favor of these critical reforms and help restore freedom of information in our great state!