Boston, MA - On Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 Representative Garrett Bradley joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to unanimously pass legislation making changes to the Commonwealth’s public records statute.
The legislation, which passed on a 157-0 vote, proposes to reorganize Massachusetts’ public records laws by requiring municipalities and state agencies to designate a public records officer, outlining response times and fees while setting out clearer procedures for appeals to either the court system or the Commonwealth’s Supervisor of Records.
“This bill will increase transparency without adding what amounts to an unfunded mandate on to our cities and towns”, said Rep. Bradley. “I am grateful to all my colleagues in the House for working together to provide a necessary update to the state’s public records laws.”
Under the legislation, cities and towns would have 75 days to produce records and state agencies would have 60 days. Agencies will keep track of response times and report the statistics to the Legislature annually. Electronic access to records will be greatly improved as agencies will be required to post commonly requested records online.
The legislation also provides for a study examining the Legislature’s current exemption from the law and how to balance access to records without compromising the personal information and privacy entrusted by constituents to their elected representatives.
The House version will now have to be reconciled via a conference committee with the version of the legislation already passed by the Massachusetts Senate.