Massachusetts police abuse exemption in public-records law, reform panel is told

A number of exemptions allow public agencies to keep secret routine documents that are easily accessible in most other states. Now, for the first time in more than four decades, Massachusetts lawmakers are in the midst of revamping the state’s weak public records law. As part of the overhaul, a state working group has been charged with reviewing and evaluating the way in which law enforcement agencies have used public records exemptions and will recommend changes to the Legislature by year’s end.

The working group, chaired by a representative of Secretary of StateWilliam F. Galvin, this week met for the first time to discuss the public’s interest in police records, such as daily logs, and unsolved investigations. They also discussed privacy and confidentiality concerns regarding the release of arrest reports.