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massachusetts public records reform

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The Road To Massachusetts Public Records Reform

In 2015, the Massachusetts legislature seriously took on the issue of reforming its woefully inadequate public records laws for the first time since the early '70s. But change does not come easily to the Commonwealth, and open gov advocates found themselves faced with an up(Beacon)battle over even the mildest of fixes.

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Closed Meeting Crash

This project will evaluate Massachusetts municipalities’ responsiveness to records requests, as well as which have kept up with reviewing and releasing the executive session minutes of their local boards, and which have not.

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The Massachusetts Governor's Office is exempt from state records law, but still accepts requests on a case-by-case basis

The Massachusetts Governor’s Office is exempt from state records law, but still accepts requests on a case-by-case basis

Three years ago, Massachusetts legislators revised the state’s public records law with the ostensible goal of increasing access. And yet, the law is still considered one of the most restrictive in the country - in no small part owing to the fact that the Bay State remains the only state in which all three branches of its state government are exempt from disclosure.

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Massachusetts lawmakers continue to limit access to financial interest records

Massachusetts lawmakers continue to limit access to financial interest records

At least 29 states post Statements of Financial Interest online, making it easy to peruse your local official’s financial ties. But under the Massachusetts Financial Disclosure Law, those wanting to get a closer look at their lawmaker’s finances have to be okay with not only showing some identification, but having their name shared with the official in question.

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Massachusetts committee dissolved after unsuccessful attempts to expand public records law

Massachusetts committee dissolved after unsuccessful attempts to expand public records law

Bay state officials have once again failed at creating recommendations for the state’s restrictive public records law.

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Fee issues continue to block access to public records in Massachusetts

Fee issues continue to block access to public records in Massachusetts

While the 2016 reforms to Massachusetts Public Records Law brought some key changes, such as a cap on copying fees and agency response times, Bay State requesters can still face hefty financial barriers to getting their records.

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Massachusetts Spotlight: Navigating the public records appeal process

Massachusetts Spotlight: Navigating the public records appeal process

While the 2016 Massachusetts public records overhaul did successfully reform several aspects of the state’s records law, it didn’t address some of the biggest hurdles facing requesters — most importantly, a lack of enforcement.

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