public records law

Public records harassment tough sell

Public records harassment tough sell

Enforcement rare on statute aimed to give communities relief

WELLESLEY RESIDENT RONALD ALEXANDER seems to be exactly the sort of guy lawmakers had in mind when they included a harassment provision in the new Public Records Law. Alexander has filed more than 200 public records requests with Wellesley since 2013. He has filed 162 requests with the school department and school committee, 40 with(...)

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Tracking assisted living ‘incidents’

Tracking assisted living ‘incidents’

Half of reports were filed late with state

Massachusetts assisted living facilities reported 305 cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation involving residents in 2015 – and half of the reports were filed late. Reports are supposed to be filed with state officials within 24 hours of the incident, but the data indicate 155 came in late. Most came in fairly quickly after the(...)

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Baker administration making public records progress

Baker administration making public records progress

Appeals plummet; still, compliance not perfect

A clarification has been added to this story. THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION is making significant progress in fulfilling the governor’s pledge to make it easier and cheaper for the public to access records from his administration. Baker’s new procedures require every agency to designate a “records access officer” to receive and track public records requests, to(...)

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Senate puts teeth into public records reform

Senate puts teeth into public records reform

Bill differs vastly with House measure but still leaves governor and Legislature exempt

THE STATE SENATE unveiled its version of Public Records reform, potentially the first major overhaul since the law was enacted in 1973, placing a hard time limit on responses, requiring courts to award attorneys’ fees if a requester is wrongly denied, mandating electronic records be provided, and restricting fees for compliance and copies. The bill, which(...)

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State courts revamp their website

State courts revamp their website

New system offers technology improvements, but public access remains limited

THE STATE’S TRIAL COURT has upgraded its outmoded computer system to allow lawyers to electronically file case records and to allow judicial decisions to be shared automatically with other government agencies. But proposed regulations governing the system continue to limit access by the general public to court records and bar access to any documents dealing(...)

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The appeal of public records

No one, if they’re being honest, will dispute the contention that Massachusetts’s public records law is toothless and the lack of penalties for refusing to comply with it leads agencies at every level to flout the statute with impunity. One of the biggest areas of concern is finding some sort of stick – carrots don’t seem to(...)

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