New Law Overhauls Handling of Public Records in State

Gov. Charlie Baker has signed the first major overhaul of the state's public records law in more than four decades.

The measure passed unanimously by the Legislature and signed on Friday by the Republican governor requires most public record requests to be completed in 10 days. It also seeks to limit how much an agency can charge for producing the records.

Baker said the changes represent a "new way of doing business" in Massachusetts. But he also said the law addresses concerns raised by smaller communities about the burden it might place on limited staffs in town halls.

Carol Rose, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, says the most important change allows judges to award legal fees to people who successfully challenge denials of public records requests.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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