Make the Governor’s Records Public

By Larry Pareles

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton.

Secretary of State Bill Galvin supports a bill to have the governor’s office follow the public records law. “The idea that the most powerful position in the state and its records are not subject to public scrutiny is absurd,” he said. His bill would make the governor’s office documents open to the public for the first time. MA is the only state in the country that shields its governor’s records from public review. 

State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) filed the bill on Galvin’s behalf. Sen. Eldridge has already championed other bills to greatly expand the public records law.

Senator Eldridge said: “Each and every day the governor’s office and all of his or her agencies are making critical decisions that have an impact on the lives of people across MA… Having access to the records of all the communication is critical to gaining insight into the rationale behind those decisions.”

MA state government makes fewer documents public than many states since the governor, the judiciary, and the legislature all claim they are exempt from the public records law. 

Gubenatorial candidate Attorney General Maura Healey supports having the governor’s office follow the public records law. Her spokesperson said: “AG Healey has long supported updating the public records law to cover the Governor’s Office in the interest of transparency and accountability.” 

Sen. Eldridge’s bills to expand the public records law (which would also include the Legislature) have gone nowhere until now. Now is a good time to pass this legislation. Maybe under a Democratic governor we will see some improvements in transparency in our state government.