Massachusetts Public Record Laws


M.G.L. 66 § 10 et seq.

Exemptions to Disclosure

The following records are exempt:

  • “Policy deliberation” (for example inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters relating to policy positions being developed by the agency; but this subclause shall not apply to reasonably completed factual studies or reports on which the development of such policy positions has been or may be based)
  • Notebooks and other materials prepared by an employee of the commonwealth which are personal to him and not maintained as part of the files of the governmental unit
  • Trade secrets or other proprietary information of the University of Massachusetts, including trade secrets or proprietary information provided to the University by research sponsors or private concerns

Access Rights

  • Any person
  • At reasonable times and w/o unreasonable delay
  • One copy to be furnished upon payment of reasonable fee
  • Custodian shall respond w/in 10 days
  • Requests must be either hand-delivered or mailed via first class
  • If custodian refuses access, requestor must go to supervisor of records; if custodian doesn’t listen to supervisor, supervisor may notify Attorney General or appropriate district attorney, and court can order compliance
  • Purpose irrelevant
  • Massachusetts has strong protections against disclosure of public employee personnel info, but very weak protections against disclosure of entity business matters (strong protections for human persons, not for non-human “persons”)
  • Timeframe shall not exceed 15 days following the initial request for the public records
  • Itemized good faith estimate of the fees associated with producing the requested documents

Destruction of Public Records

All records may be destroyed w/in 7 years of creation, but no such paper shall be destroyed without the written approval of the supervisor of records. M.G.L. § 8.

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