"This report is a reminder of how badly we need to reform our state public records law. Reform is long overdue, and our lawmakers need to act now . . . Massachusetts should be leading the pack and not trailing the rest of the country."
Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director on a recent report by the Center for Public Integrity that gave Massachusetts an F grade for public records access.
"We cannot erode basic American rights in a gullible effort to 'expunge' criminal activity. Saying something never happened when it did is simply Orwellian. Rewriting history, or claiming it did not happen is an old Soviet ploy unworthy of free societies."
NEFAC's James Smith of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information discussing 'second chance' legislation.
"We have to remember that this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Public officials are our servants working for us and we need to know what they're doing so we can properly oversee what they're doing on our behalf."
NEFAC's Robert Bertsche of Prince Lobel Tye, LLP, in a Telegram & Gazette article on the Massachusetts open meeting law.
"We, reporters and editors, are the transparency police. It's not the Department of Justice, which according to the House Oversight Committee chair lives in 'la la land' when it comes to its own transparency. It's not local law enforcement agencies like the 'Golden Padlock' award-winning Massachusetts State Police. It is people like you and me. Whether we realize it or not,
we were sworn to protect government transparency the minute we received press credentials . . ."
NEFAC blogger Philip Eil on the responsibility of journalists to expose challenges to freedom of information.
"It's an important principle in all jurisdictions. All news organizations realize that this kind of commentary is quite common. If it became actionable, it would be a big change in the law and in how people communicate with each other in print, online and even face to face."
NEFAC's Jonathan Albano of Morgan Lewis & Bockius, LLP, analyzing a recent libel case ruling by the Massachusetts SJC in favor of the Boston Herald.
"The bill is a mixed bag. There are several improvements that could help the public obtain information. But there also changes that could make it difficult to get that information quickly and inexpensively."
Justin Silverman, NEFAC's executive director on a public records reform bill approved by Massachusetts lawmakers.
"That's the way the First Amendment is supposed to work - people speak up when they think something's wrong, and then the right things happen. Usually, though, it's not that easy. First, you need the facts. That's where state laws on public records and open meetings come in . . ."
NEFAC's Tom Kearney of the Waterbury Record and Stowe Reporter on why the First Amendment depends on the accessibility of government information.