Should The Legislature Be Exempt From The Public Records Law?

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Massachusetts State House (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Massachusetts State House (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The foundation budget bill had strong bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, yet the conference committee was unable to reach an agreement before the end of the legislative session last week.

The conference committee reported they received "new information" from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the final hours of negotiations. Since the legislature is exempt from the public records law, that information does not have to be released to the public.

This is just one example of the secretive process of legislative compromises in Massachusetts. We look at why the legislature, governor's office, and judiciary are all exempt from the public records law, and whether that exemption could be found unconstitutional through a legal challenge.


Mary Connaughton, director of government transparency at the Pioneer Institute. She tweets @maryzformass.

This segment aired on August 8, 2018.

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