Public Records information

Taken from the Division of Public Records:

The founding fathers of our nation strove to develop an open government formed on the principles of democracy and public participation. An informed citizen is better equipped to participate in that process.

Laws mandating the disclosure of public records have existed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1851. The federal Freedom of Information Act was signed into law in 1966 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1974, Congress amended the federal Freedom of Information Act in order to make government records more accessible to the public.

The Massachusetts Public Records Law parallels federal law, with some variation. Every government record in Massachusetts is presumed to be public unless it may be withheld under a specifically stated exemption.

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