What: Rally for Massachusetts Public Records Reform

Where: Steps of the Massachusetts State House

When: 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 (Right before the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address.)

Why: To create momentum to get a good bill passed.

Contact: SPJ New England Chapter President Danielle McLean- daniellemclean87@gmail.com or at (508) 725- 8716.

It’s no secret that Massachusetts has some of the worst public records laws in the country. And a bill passed by the House that would improve the situation is insufficient and in some ways makes things worse.

The bill is now in front of the state Senate, our last hope for a solid bill that gives reasonable access to public records. Government officials in this state have been operating in the dark for too long. We are constitutionally entitled to these records.

The governor is holding his State of the Commonwealth Address at the State House on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. Two hours before the event, lets get as many reporters, editors, and media members as possible by the front steps of the State House to make some noise and let our elected officials know we’re serious.

This rally is being hosted by the New England chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. All Massachusetts reporters, editors, publishers, media execs, and open record advocates are welcome.

For a summary of how terrible Massachusetts’ public records laws are why the House bill is inadequate, check out SPJNE President Danielle McLean’s blog post on the SPJ Freedom of Information Committee website.

Our Demands:

ATTORNEY FEES MUST BE MANDATORY – the law must provide parties that win a court fight to get their records with attorneys fees.

30 DAYS COMPLIANCE – the time frame for compliance with a records request must not be longer than a month. Justice delayed is justice denied.

NO COST ACCESS – levying additional fees on persons making a records request is an information tax. Telling us what is in our records is what our government does in a democracy.