Statement of Senator Jason Lewis on Governor Baker’s Announcement Pertaining to Public Records Requests

I commend Governor Charlie Baker on his efforts to improve compliance with the state’s existing public records law.  It is simply unacceptable that the media and ordinary citizens should face unreasonable delays and high fees to gain access to information that rightly belongs in the public domain.  The Governor’s executive order represents positive action toward making state government more transparent and accountable to the people of Massachusetts.  However, we must do more to bring the Commonwealth into the 21st century, and I will continue pushing for passage in the legislature of the public records reform bill that I have filed along with Representative Kocot.  This bill would ensure that all public records in both state and municipal government are available to the public in electronic form whenever possible, that any fees charged are reasonable and affordable, and that requestors who are wrongfully denied access can be awarded attorney’s fees, which is already the case in virtually every other state in the country.