Time to End Legislative Exemptions from Public Records & Open Meeting Laws

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+
Under Massachusetts law, the state Legislature is not considered a “public body” in the traditional sense, and therefore enjoys exemptions from open meeting and public records laws. Pioneer Institute believes this is unconstitutional. The state constitution says the Legislature should be accountable to citizens “at all times.”
The laws that apply to municipalities and the rest of state government should also apply to the Legislature. The 2016 public records reform law failed to adequately address this exemption but did establish a special legislative commission to look into the issue further. The commission’s report was supposed to be submitted to the House and Senate Clerks’ Offices by December 30, 2017. Unfortunately, the deadline was quietly extended to December 1, 2018. In February of 2018, the commission began its work on the matter.
Through PioneerLegal, Pioneer Institute’s public-interest law initiative, we reviewed the state’s constitution and existing statutes and concluded that the legislative exemptions from public records law and open meeting laws are unconstitutional. To give input on this issue, we have sent an open letter to the chairs of the legislative commission detailing the argument. Please read our letter here.

Letter to Public Records Commission 4-3-18 by Pioneer Institute on Scribd


Related Posts:

Not signed, sealed, delivered

/
Even the casual observer has probably heard that Massachusetts…

Should Boston want to be the home of Amazon’s second headquarters?

/
Amazon is the kind of company whose mere presence is enough to…

Is local government in Massachusetts too pervasive?

/
In a country as culturally and politically diverse as the United…

Troop F Gets an A: State Auditor Overlooks DSP Corruption, Neglects Audits

/
The Office of the State Auditor’s (OSA’s) website describes…

“Isn’t Everything Online and Free?” The Exclusivity of MA Law Libraries

/
There are 15 Trial Court Law Libraries in Massachusetts to service…
the Boston skyline overlaid with money.

Which State Employees Make More than the Boss?

/
In 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections had 20 employees…

Why Did the Department of Corrections Pay a Chef $166,762 last year?

/
Pioneer Institute’s MassOpenBooks transparency tool shows an…

True Transparency Needed for SFI's

/
Pioneer has long called for the Statements of Financial Interests…

The role of old industrial districts in residential suburbs

/
The City of Waltham was once an aging mill town. Its flagship…

Time to End MA State Legislature’s Exemption from Public Records Law

/
The purpose of transparency laws is to promote more effective,…

How does the Commonwealth Pay for Roads?

/
Maintaining, safe, efficient public infrastructure challenges…