Some public records are exempt from disclosure (either in whole or in part) under the Public Records Actor other statutes; if a record is exempt from disclosure, the agency has the option to disclose the record but is not required to. Although Exemption (m) has yet to be interpreted by any Massachusetts court, the language of the exemption is clear. "Congratulations, folks! We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us. See Mass. at 626 n. 2.32 Collector of Lynn, 377 Mass. Mass.gov® is a registered service mark of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Making such a value judgment is specifically antithetic to the previously expounded presumptions that all records are public records and all requesters shall be treated uniformly. Co. v. City Treasurer of Lynn, 374 Mass. Exemption (s) relates to certain records of public utility providers. Some of the information contained in a resume may be exempt from disclosure because it relates to a specifically identifiable individual and is the type of information that is useful in making employment decisions. Exemptions to Public Records Law Below is the list of records that exempt from the PUblic Records Law. For information about the public records law generally, please see the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s guide.This guide provides a basic overview of the Massachusetts public records law, the legal definition of “public record,” and general exemptions to the definition of “public record.” at 701.50 G. L. c. 4, § 7(26)(h).51 G. L. c. 4, § 7(26)(d); See also discussion of the application of Exemption (d) in the Massachusetts Guide to the Public Records Law.52 G. L. c. 4, § 7(26)(i).53 G. L. c. 112, § 173 (definition of appraisal).54 Coleman v. Boston Redevelopment Authority, 61 Mass. Its application is limited to “intimate details of a highly personal nature.”30 Examples of “intimate details of a highly personal nature” include marital status, paternity, substance abuse, government assistance, family disputes and reputation.31 Portions of records containing such information are exempt unless there is a paramount public interest in disclosure.32. It’s long past time to close a gaping loophole in the Massachusetts public records law: an exemption that allows the Legislature to conduct much of its business in secret. From A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law (Guide), published by William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Division of Public Records. 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 unit38, The application of Exemption (e) is limited to records that are work-related but can be characterized as personal to an employee. In keeping with the exemptions noted above, some records will be produced in redacted form. Where notes of open meetings have been taken by secretaries, it has been held that the notes are public at the time that they are created. Would you like to provide additional feedback to help improve Mass.gov? contracts for hospital or related health care services between (i) any hospital, clinic or other health care facility operated by a unit of state, county or municipal government and (ii) a health maintenance organization arrangement approved under chapter one hundred and seventy-six I, a nonprofit hospital service corporation or medical service corporation organized pursuant to chapter one hundred and seventy-six A and chapter one hundred and seventy-six B, respectively, a health insurance corporation licensed under chapter one hundred and seventy- five or any legal entity that is self insured and provides health care benefits to its employees62. The language of the exemption limits its application to: personnel and medical files or information; also any other materials or data relating to a specifically named individual, the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy14, The privacy exemption is made up of two separate clauses, the first of which exempts personnel and medical files. The Secretary of State has published a guide that outlines the law and provides an FAQ and allowable exemptions. Charlie Baker on Friday signed into law the first overhaul of Massachusetts' public records law in more than four decades. Your feedback will not receive a response. This right of access includes the right to inspect, copy or have copies of records provided. (a) A records access officer appointed pursuant to section 6A, or a designee, shall at reasonable times and without unreasonable delay permit inspection or furnish a copy of any public … For example: May the records custodian withhold proposal and bid documents until the records custodian has finalized a contract with the construction company or developer? 623, 625 (1980).31 Id. Although the Supreme Judicial Court upheld the application of the legislature’s blanket exemption, it has never ruled specifically on the constitutionality of the provisions. •Burden is on records custodian to claim an exemption •Must state why the exemption applies to the portions withheld •Applicable only to exempt portion of record. Public Records What is a public record? Its application is limited to recommendations on legal and policy matters found within an ongoing deliberative process.36 Factual reports which are reasonably complete and inferences which can be drawn from factual investigations, even if labeled as opinions or conclusions, are not exempt as deliberative or policy making materials.37 Only portions of records that possess a deliberative or policymaking character and relate to an ongoing deliberative process are exempt from mandatory disclosure. Public employees have a diminished expectation of privacy in matters relating to their public employment and the public has a legitimate interest in knowing whether public employees possess the qualifications necessary to perform their jobs. 679, 691 (1980) (the purposes of competitive bidding go beyond economy and efficient administration to the prevention of favoritism in the awarding of government contracts).48 Id. For example: I seek a copy of an arrest report. It reads: “…[T]hat part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record as defined by clause Twenty-sixth of section seven of chapter four59, G. L. c. 78, § 7 operates through Exemption (a) of the Public Records Law to provide a basis for denying access to library circulation records.60. Under the Massachusetts Statewide Record Retention schedule, this Office is only obligated to retain records for prescribed lengths of time. Also, the Massachusetts Public Records Act places no restrictions on the use of records. Exemption (a) applies to records that are: specifically or by necessary implication exempted from disclosure by statute4, A government entity may use the statutory exemption as a basis for withholding requested materials where the exempting statute expressly states or necessarily implies that the public’s right to inspect records under the Public Records Law is restricted.5, This exemption creates two categories of exempt records. This Office will contact you regarding the charges applicable to your request. The requested records do not satisfy the criteria of the exemption; therefore, the list of health insurance plans and the costs of providing these as employee benefits may not be withheld pursuant to Exemption (m). 1 G. L. c. 4, § 7(26).2 Attorney General v. Assistant Commissioner of the Real Property Department of Boston, 380 Mass. Pursuant to Exemption (l), the records custodian may properly withhold the test questions and answers, and any other testing materials that are currently used or may be used to administer subsequent MCAS examinations. All records including photographs, memos, books, papers, maps, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data are considered public information in Massachusetts, unless they are withheld from … The limitation on the duration of the exemption provides the public with an opportunity to review the rejected proposals to ensure that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent. Examples of exempt records include: For a complete listing of the exemptions to the Public Records Law, please see “A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law,” available at: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/guide.pdf . 37G. Exemption (m) specifically applies only to records that are contracts for hospital or related health care services. For example: What if the records custodian receives a request for firearm records of a specifically named individual, such as, “I request all gun permits issued to John Smith”? It is impossible for the records custodian to protect Mr. Smith’s identity. Exemption (l) provides a basis for withholding from disclosure: questions and answers, scoring keys and sheets and other materials used to develop, administer or score a test, examination or assessment instrument; provided, however, that such materials are intended to be used for another test, examination or assessment instrument61. or social security numbers? The legislature defined “appraisal” as any written analysis, opinion, or conclusion prepared by a real estate appraiser relating to the nature, quality, value or utility of specified interests in, or aspects of, identified real estate.53. L. c. 4, § 7(26). For a listing of judicial records that may be available from the appropriate clerk’s office, please see the “Guidelines on the Public’s Right of Access to Judicial Proceedings and Records,” available at:  http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/sjc/docs/pubaccess.pdf . How does this supposedly progressive state have such backwards open government laws? The Massachusetts Public Records Law was created in the spirit of the 1966 federal Freedom of Information Act in an effort to make government more accountable — but after its well … For example: May the records custodian withhold any records concerning the evaluations of the bidders and the awarding process, and at what point do the records become public? (iv) identify any records, categories of records or portions of records that the agency or municipality intends to withhold, and provide the specific reasons for such withholding, including the specific exemption or exemptions upon which the withholding is based, provided that nothing in the written response shall limit an agency's or municipality's ability to redact or withhold information in … For example: Are all Department of Correction (DOC) security policies and procedures public? Although Exemption (k) was repealed, the legislature retained the substance of the exemption, incorporating the language into another section of the General Laws. Exemption (i) applies to: appraisals of real property acquired or to be acquired until (1) a final agreement is entered into; or (2) any litigation relative to such appraisal has been terminated; or (3) the time within which to commence such litigation has expired52, Application of Exemption (i) is limited to situations in which a governmental entity is concerned that disclosure of the subject appraisal will compromise its ability to effectively negotiate a fair purchase or sale price for the property. For a complete listing of the exemptions to the Public Records Law, please see “A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law,” available at: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/guide.pdf, In keeping with the exemptions noted above, some records will be produced in. Also, the Massachusetts Public Records Act places no restrictions on the use of records. Open Records Law G. L. c. 4, § 7(26) Exempt: Information that would invade individual privacy; trade secrets; public … You may be able to obtain such records from the clerk’s office in the applicable district court or the superior court in your county. Under the Massachusetts Statewide Record Retention schedule, this Office is only obligated to retain records for prescribed lengths of time. Information and records acquired under chapter 18C by the office of the child advocate68, The records created and received by the Office of the Child Advocate pursuant to Chapter 18C may be withheld under this exemption.69, trade secrets or confidential, competitively-sensitive or other proprietary information provided in the course of activities conducted by a governmental body as an energy supplier under a license granted by the department of public utilities pursuant to section 1F of chapter 164, in the course of activities conducted as a municipal aggregator under section 134 of said chapter 164 or in the course of activities conducted by a cooperative consisting of governmental entities organized pursuant to section 136 of said chapter 164, when such governmental body, municipal aggregator or cooperative determines that such disclosure will adversely affect its ability to conduct business in relation to other entities making, selling or distributing electric power and energy; provided, however, that this subclause shall not exempt a public entity from disclosure required of a private entity so licensed70. The Massachusetts Statewide Records Retention Schedule is available at: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcpdf/0211.pdf.
2020 massachusetts public records law exemptions