Published On: Fri, Feb 5th, 2016

Victory! Thank the state Senate for passing a strong public records bill!

Thank you for voting to pass a strong public records reform bill. This legislation has been desperately needed for a long time, and I truly appreciate the Senate making it a priority. This legislation has the potential to significantly improve access to public information in the Commonwealth.

Our existing public records law, which hasn’t been updated since 1973, fails to fulfill its promise of open and transparent government.

As you know, the law says certain information is supposed to be publicly accessible, but it doesn’t work in practice due to excessive fees and lack of enforcement. The Senate’s bill would help ensure that access to public records is real and affordable, and that the law is followed.

The proposed legislation includes sensible limits on fees for public information and reasonable timeframes for responding to requests. And it would bring Massachusetts into the mainstream by giving individuals the ability to enforce the law when they are unlawfully denied access to public information–without having to worry about bearing the cost of that enforcement when they succeed.

The House passed a far weaker public records bill. Please insist on the Senate’s version and advocate for the strongest possible bill to be negotiated in conference.

I thank you for your vote in favor of real public records reform, and for your continued advocacy to ensure that the strongest possible legislation is enacted to be signed by the Governor.