David Milton testifies in favor of reforming Massachusetts’ public records law

David Milton testified yesterday at a legislative committee hearing on proposals to reform Massachusetts’ public records law, which is one of the worst in the country. David and representatives of a wide array of public interest and media organizations, as well as numerous state lawmakers, urged the committee to endorse much needed reforms designed to make obtaining public records easier, quicker, and less expensive.

The current law lacks any meaningful enforcement mechanism, permitting agencies to blatantly violate the law with impunity. David spoke about one of the key proposed reforms, a requirement that agencies who improperly withhold records pay attorney’s fees to requesters who successfully sue to obtain the records. Forty-seven other states, plus the federal Freedom of Information Act, have such a requirement. David’s testimony, which tells the story of his difficulty obtaining video of police brutality from the MBTA, is here. The Boston Globe article about the hearing is here. The ACLU of Massachusetts press release about the hearing contains information about reform efforts and a partial list of other organizations who sent someone to testify yesterday. 

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