Public records reform law signed by Governor Charlie Baker

Designed to make it easier for members of the public to obtain information

baker public records bill signing
Surrounded by legislators and advocates who helped craft the bill, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law Friday the first significant overhaul of the state's public records law in more than 40 years. [Photo: Colin Young/SHNS]

BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Charlie Baker has signed into law a bill that modernizes the way that state agencies and municipalities store public information.

The new law is all about government transparency. The state wants to make public records more easily accessible and affordable for those who want them.

The law establishes deadlines for public agencies to fulfill records requests, such as payroll receipts and emails. It also encourages them to make sure public records are available on the Internet to save both time and money.

State Rep. Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) told 22News that the law gives smaller towns more resources to comply with records requests.

“I’m pleased with it, I think it strikes a good balance between the public’s right to know and a state agency’s or municipal government’s responsibility to provide,” Kulik said.

For the first time, people would be able to recover attorney’s fees when they obtain public records through lawsuits.

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