From restrictive laws contributing to prolonged response times, and high fees stopping the release of records, the State of State Public Records Laws is on a bumpy ride. To get a better sense of what’s going on at the state and local level, we’ve been analyzing our MuckRock data and finding the trends in records requesting.
In order to get a better sense of what’s truly going on with public records laws, we decided to take a look at data from over 2,600 agencies in MuckRock’s API. The numbers show the staggering differences in state and local average response times as well as the number of requests filed and completed in those states.
Fourteen organizations have joined in on a public records lawsuit calling for the release of the Boston Police Department’s “gang” database, which the group claims labels, tracks, and shares information about young people it alleges to be involved in gangs.
The recently revamped Massachusetts public records law is still hailed as one of the worst in the country. Agencies have ten days to respond to public records request, but some agencies, especially law enforcement agencies, have trouble abiding by the law.
Until recently, police in Columbus, Ohio couldn’t differentiate between rape kits and shopping carts
A public records request with the Columbus Police Department revealed that until a year ago, the department tagged rape kits in evidence as “other,” a designation also used for shopping carts and cell phones.