Massachusetts State Police take issue with tougher records law

State Police have objected to a proposal to strengthen Massachusetts public records laws in meetings on Beacon Hill, the latest sign of government resistance to a measure designed to make documents more readily available to the public.

State Police Colonel Richard D. McKeon and a State Police lieutenant “expressed a number of concerns about the bill” in two meetings with House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo over the last four months, according to Seth Gitell, a DeLeo spokesman.

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Mass. lawmakers: Make it easier for residents to get records

From Lowellsun.com: BOSTON — Area lawmakers are hoping a series of proposed bills will provide better and cheaper public access to government records by moving the costly and time consuming paper chase online.

“Electronic copies should be able to download and people can take what they want,” said Rep. Dave Nangle, D-Lowell, a member of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, which met last month to consider ways to speed access to public records.

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Opinion: State often keeps public in dark

From Boston Herald: Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis praised the sunlight of public scrutiny as “the best of disinfectants.” The dark and dusty corners of Massachusetts government need far more sunshine.

The commonwealth enacted its public records law in 1966, the same year Congress passed the Freedom of Information Act. While the world looks very different than it did in the age of LBJ and Gov. John Volpe, our public records law becomes more antiquated each year, leaving far too many avenues for officials to avoid disclosure.

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Mass. lawmakers weighing public records bills

From The Boston Globe: BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing bills designed to make it easier for the public to obtain state records.

Among the bills are proposals to increase access to public records in an electronic format or over the Internet, rather than with paper copies.

Visit The Boston Globe for more.

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Lantigua spends $32,178 of taxpayers money to fight $61 public records request

From The Valley Patriot:  Records obtained by the Valley Patriot reveal that Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua has spent a stunning amount of state taxpayer’s money, ($32,178.51) to fight the release of public records regarding legal bills and rental payments to a private law firm representing the City of Lawrence on worker’s compensation claims.

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Mass. Reading puts all records into online cloud

From The Boston Globe:

As state lawmakers consider creating a municipal record preservation commission to help ensure that essential public records are protected, the sleepy suburb of Reading is emerging as a role model for small towns statewide, replacing stacks of manila folders and dusty filing cabinets with digital software.

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for September 14, 2012

A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week:

Indiana jail records coming to smartphones

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