BOSTON—The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts celebrates the 49th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on July 4, but holds the fireworks until Massachusetts upgrades its own laws on access to public records.
Congress passed FOIA in 1966 to enhance the public’s right to know what its government is doing. FOIA makes public records available to citizens, journalists and good government watchdog groups like the League of Women Voters. FOIA holds government accountable and increases citizens’ trust in their government.
But FOIA is only as strong as citizens demand it to be. Too often, government officials and agencies delay or refuse outright to respond to requests for information and charge excessive fees to provide that information.
The Massachusetts League of Women Voters and its partners in the MassFOIA Coalition, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause and the Massachusetts Newspapers Publishers Association, urge the state legislature to pass comprehensive public records access legislation based on H.2772/S.1676.
Massachusetts’ current public access records laws are extremely weak and lack adequate enforcement mechanisms.
“It is time to open up the citizens’ government to the citizens and make available the public records that rightly belong to the public,” noted Anne Borg, LWVMA co-president. “Then we can truly celebrate the passage of this important law.”