Opinion: Massachusetts’ problem with transparency

If you want to see your government in action, just take a seat in the gallery high above the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

But don’t take a picture, unless you want a visit from the security guard. Don’t shoot any video. And that spirited debate you hear below on multi-million-dollar cuts to the state’s most vulnerable citizens? Well, it doesn’t really amount to much. All the important stuff was worked out ahead of time, behind closed doors. Massachusetts’ democracy may be one of the oldest in the country. But it is also, in many respects, one of the most opaque.

Government websites are difficult to navigate. There are no clear penalties for state agencies that improperly deny public records requests. And the Legislature has exempted itself from the state’s public records and open meetings laws. Continue>>>