Transparency organizations raise concerns about Uniform Law Commission’s redaction initiative

A letter from government transparency organizations urges the Uniform Law Commission to prioritize the public’s right to know when it studies the redaction of personal information from public records.  The June 17 letter was written by Sarah Brewerton-Palmer, legislative chair of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, and was edited and endorsed by Todd Fettig, the…


New England coalition supports Massachusetts bills to keep remote access to public meetings

The New England First Amendment Coalition testified June 2, 2021, in support of Massachusetts legislation that would preserve the ability of people to attend public meetings either remotely or in-person. “The legislation will make permanent one of the few silver linings of the ongoing pandemic: remote access to public meetings and the increased engagement between…


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…


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…


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:


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.


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.”