Since Massachusetts public records overhaul, more towns turning to tech solutions to handle requests

A candidate for Framingham state representative was seeking a list of all city voters who applied for absentee ballots. A reporter wanted information about Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer’s expenses. Insurance companies are asking for police records of clients’ car accidents. The city of Framingham posts on its website a log of public records requests, along with the…

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Advocates press Massachusetts lawmakers to work in public

Open government advocates on Wednesday called on lawmakers to make more government offices subject to the state’s public records laws. Massachusetts is the only state where the Legislature, governor’s office and judiciary all claim to be exempt from the state’s public records law. That has led open government groups and others to consistently label the…

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NEFAC, MFOIC, Maine News Groups Call for Preservation of State House Committee Recordings

The New England First Amendment Coalition expressed concern this week about a proposed policy that would limit access to recordings of the Maine State House Facilities Committee, calling such recordings “an invaluable tool to aid with accuracy and immediacy, and one that is in the public’s great interest.”

The State House Facilities Committee is responsible for, among other things, the management of the capitol grounds and legislative space in the State House. It is currently considering three policies for the recording of its public hearings:

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NEFAC Opposes Maine Legislation Requiring Advance Payment of All Record Request Costs

The New England First Amendment Coalition today opposed Maine legislation that would cause unnecessary delays to the release of public records.

The legislation, L.D. 1432, allows an agency or official to “require payment of all costs before the public record is provided to the requester” under the state’s Freedom of Access Act.

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NEFAC Receives Barr Foundation Grant to Protect Freedom of Press, Assist Journalists

The New England First Amendment Coalition is pleased to announce a $45,000 grant from the Barr Foundation in Boston to help strengthen journalism and protect freedom of the press.

“The Barr Foundation’s generosity will allow us to improve and expand our educational programming,” said Justin Silverman, NEFAC’s executive director. “These are challenging times for journalists and the public’s right to know. This grant will help NEFAC continue to be a leading advocate for the First Amendment and journalists throughout New England.”

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U.S. Supreme Court Declines ‘Ballot Selfie’ Case; Right to Photograph Remains Protected

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a First Circuit Court of Appeals decision to strike down a New Hampshire law banning “ballot selfies.”

By declining to review the case, the court has allowed the First Circuit ruling to stand, a result the New England First Amendment Coalition calls a victory for the First Amendment and open government.

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Sunshine Week Blog Post from NEFAC – Fallout from 38 Studios and the State of Open Government in Rhode Island

When Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and members of the state’s House of Representatives recently demanded that records relating to one of the biggest and most publicized loan investigations in the state be made public, it was an early Sunshine Week gift for the public and especially for advocates of open government.

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