Editorial: Massachusetts Senate should toughen public records law

The Massachusetts Senate plans to debate legislation that ideally should be aimed at giving the state’s public records law – one of the weakest in the nation – a much-needed backbone transplant.

Last fall, the Massachusetts House approved its version of the bill, but changes rendered the final result anemic. The Senate, which recorded 64 amendments to its own bill this week, now has a chance to make things right.


Massachusetts senator seeks to strengthen public records law

Seeking to strengthen the state’s public records law to provide increased public access to government information, Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr has filed a number of amendments to the public records legislation released last week by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

The bill is expected to be taken up in the Senate formal session on Feb. 4.


Massachusetts public records bill gets mixed reviews

Under a new bill, Massachusetts would join 47 other states that allow people to recoup legal fees after successfully suing for access to public records.

The legislature’s first move in more than 40 years to update the Massachusetts public records law is getting mixed reviews from some government transparency advocates.


EDITORIAL: Massachusetts public records reform can’t wait

A final redraft of a long-in-the-works bill to improve access to public records in Massachusetts could be introduced to the House floor soon. It's about time.

People connected to the process are saying the bill’s language will provide timely access while taking into account agency and municipal concerns over aggressive deadlines and limits to recouping costs. A bill to satisfy all sides?


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.


Supporters of public records overhaul await Beacon Hill vote

A coalition of public watchdog groups, civil rights advocates and Massachusetts newspaper publishers is calling for quick action on legislation aimed at overhauling a state public records law they say hasn't been updated in more than 40 years.

Momentum for a public records bill that appeared headed for a vote in the Legislature has slowed. At the end of September, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he expected the Massachusetts House to vote on the measure within a week or two.