State lawmakers updated the Mass. public records law

BOSTON (WWLP) – The new public records law gives state agencies and municipalities a deadline to fulfill records requests. State lawmakers hope the law would boost government transparency by allowing people to access public documents faster without a bunch of out-of-pocket expenses.

Public records include: payroll reports and government emails. The state is exploring ways to strengthen the law before it goes into effect.

The Massachusetts Municipal Association is worried the deadlines could prove to be a burden on small, rural towns with limited staff and resources.

Civil rights group also want the state to clarify the difference between an agency and municipality, as many offices are overseen by both entities. Gavi Wolfe from the ACLU of Massachusetts tolled 22News “I think that there’s an opportunity and a need to make the relationship between those two terms, agency and municipality, and the statutory language clearer.”

The public records law is expected to go into effect at the end of the year.