Group pushes state lawmaker to update Massachusetts public records law to ease access


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BOSTON — Groups pushing for easier access to government documents are pressing Massachusetts lawmakers to pass a bill they say would modernize the state's public records law.

The Massachusetts Freedom of Information Alliance says the bill will eliminate technological and administrative barriers.

The bill would require state agencies to designate a single person to handle records requests, have fees for obtaining public record reflect actual costs, and provide attorneys' fees when agencies unlawfully block access to public information.

It would also encourage access to records in electronic form.

A similar bill failed to advance in the last session. Critics say the current law hasn't been updated in more than 40 years.

The alliance includes the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the New England First Amendment Coalition.

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