The State Organization Index provides an alphabetical listing of government organizations, including commissions, departments, and bureaus.
Top-requested sites to log in to services provided by the state
A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on freedom of information and public records law
St. 2016, c.121 (H4333) Act to Improve Public Records. Provides sweeping changes to public records law. Most provisions were effective January 1, 2017.MGL c.4 s. 7 cl. 26 Definition of Public RecordsMGL c.66 Public RecordsMGL c.66A Fair Information Practices Act
940 CMR 11 Fair Information Practices Act950 CMR 32 Public Records Access Regulations950 CMR 33 Information Practices Regulations
Public Records Response Guidelines for Executive Branch Secretariats and Agencies , Gov. Baker, July 30, 2015.
Memo to cabinet secretaries outlines requirements for responses to requests, including standardized charges and more.
5 USC 552 Freedom of Information Act
Example of a FOI request letter, Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Fully Automated Fill-in-the Blanks FOI Letter Generator, from the Student Press Law Center.
Champa v. Weston Public Schools, 473 Mass. 86 (2015).
A "settlement agreement, regarding a public school's placement of a student who required special education services in an out-of-district private educational institution, between the public school and the parents of the student was exempt from the definition of “public records” ... and therefore not subject to disclosure... without a redaction of personally identifiable information..."
Comm. v. Fremont Investment and Loan, 459 Mass. 209 (2011)
Massachusetts "public records law does not abrogate judicial protective orders."
Comm. v. Fujita, 470 Mass. 484 (2015)
A list of jurors must be "retained in the court file of the case and be made available to the public in the same manner as other court records; further, this court concluded that only on a judicial finding of good cause, which may include a risk of harm to the jurors or to the integrity of their service, may such a list be withheld."
General Electric Co. v. Department of Environmental Protection, 429 Mass. 798 (1999)
Materials privileged as work product are not protected from disclosure under the public records statute, unless they fall within the scope of an express statutory exemption
Hull Municipal Lighting Plant v. Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., 414 Mass. 609 (1993)
Public records are broadly defined and include all documentary materials made or received by an officer or employee of any corporation or public entity of the Commonwealth unless one of the nine statutory exemptions is applicable
Lambert v. Judicial Nominating Council, 425 Mass. 406 (1997)
In concluding that the records of the Judicial Nominating Council are not public records, the court said, in part, " Neither the Legislature nor the Judiciary are expressly included in G. L. c. 4, § 7, Twenty-sixth... Likewise, the Governor also is not explicitly included in clause Twenty-sixth. 'Like the Legislature and the Judiciary, the Governor possesses incidental powers which he can exercise in aid of his primary responsibility.' "
Peckham v. Boston Herald, Inc., 48 Mass. App. Ct. 282 (1999)
Judicial records are not within the law's definition of "public records," and so that law's privacy exemption did not apply in an invasion of privacy suit arising from a newspaper's reporting on a paternity action
Suffolk Construction v. Dept. of Capital Asset Management, 449 Mass. 444 (2007)
In distinguishing the work-product doctrine (see General Electric, above) from attorney-client privilege, the court ruled that documents covered by the attorney-client privilege are not subject to Massachusetts' public records law
Worcester Telegram & Gazette v. Chief of Police of Worcester, 58 Mass. App. Ct. 1 (2003)
"[M]aterials in an internal affairs investigation are different in kind from the ordinary evaluations, performance assessments and disciplinary determinations encompassed in the public records exemption for 'personnel [file] or information.'"
MGL c. 66, § 8: Preservation of Certain Books, Papers and Records; Destruction of Certain Original Instruments
Law gives the timeline for keeping state, county, city and town records
Massachusetts Records Retention Schedules, Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Searchable database of municipal and statewide records retention schedules, providing detailed guidance in the storage and disposal of records
Massachusetts Trial Court Record Retention Schedule, Administrative Office of the Trial Court
Outlines requirements for each court department.
Access to Government in the Computer Age: An Examination of State Public Records Law, American Bar Association, 2007
Administrative Law, Bender, Chapter 10A, Preventing disclosure of information : the “Reverse FOIA” case
Bender’s Forms of Discovery, volume 16, chapter 14 “Freedom of information law and discovery”
Freedom of Information and Public Records Law in Massachusetts, MCLE, 2015
Guidebook to the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts, West Group, loose-leaf
Massachusetts Practice, vol. 18 (Municipal Law) West Group, with supplement, chapter 8; vol. 39 (Administrative Law and Practice) West Group, with supplement, chapters 16 and 18
Public Records and Open Meetings Laws, MCLE, 2008"State Freedom of Information Act Requests: Right to Receive Information in Particular Medium or Format," 86 ALR4th 786
Last update: February 20, 2018
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