On Tuesday, the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight held a hearing before a standing-room-only crowd on a bill designed to strengthen the Massachusetts Public Records Law. That bill, “An Act to Improve Access to Public Records,” was introduced in the House by Rep. Peter Kocot and in the Senate by Sen. Jason Lewis. Representatives from the media, lawyers and public policy advocates testified in support of the bill, which seeks to address inherent weaknesses in the law.
Unfortunately, The Boston Globe found that before 2015, Secretary of State William Galvin ruled in favor of the public’s right to know in only 27 percent of the cases. Galvin recently reversed a 2010 decision by his office and now interprets the Public Records Law so narrowly, Massachusetts local and State Police are able to arrest anyone and choose to keep the arrest report and mug shot from the public, according to Jeff Pyle, public records lawyer with Prince Lobel Tye LLP.
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