How Public Records Law can force transparency and hopefully bring accountability. Root out the rats!

Disrupted Physician

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This Sunday marks the beginning of  Sunshine Week, a national celebration started in  Florida 15  years ago to promote open government. Transparency is about shedding light.  Transparency brings accountability, and, often, meaningful reform.

On June 3, 2016 Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the first update to Massachusetts public records law since 1973.  House Bill 4333  imposes shorter time frames for agencies to respond to records requests.  Most agencies need to respond within 10-days but can be granted a 20-day extension provided they show good cause for it.  Those who believe a state agency  has violated its legal obligations can petition the Supervisor of Records and agencies are also subject to punitive damages for failure to comply with the requirements.

Massachusetts has historically ranked at the bottom of the barrel in terms of giving its citizens  access to public records.  A 2015 assessment by  a non-profit investigative news…

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