In 2016, after the work of many progressive advocates, the legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation that reformed the Massachusetts public records law for the first time since the early 1970’s. This legislation was a big improvement, but it was also incomplete.
What about the law was good? State agencies now have 15 days to fully comply with records requests; municipalities will have 25 days. The law also caps charges, therefore making records less expensive and more accessible to the general public.
What was left undone? The legislature exempted themselves, the Governor’s office, and the judiciary; the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the only state where these three bodies are exempt from the public records law. The last time The Center for Public Integrity graded the Massachusetts legislature for accountability, they earned a “D”.
The good news is that progressive legislators and community members are fighting to eliminate the exemptions. I will join with these legislators and work for these reforms. When elected, unlike my opponent, I will voluntarily comply with public records requests.