The Massachusetts Public Records Law and its regulations provide that each person has a right of access to public information. This right of access includes the right to inspect, copy, or have copies of records provided upon the payment of a reasonable fee.
The Public Records Law broadly defines “public records” to include “all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee” of any Massachusetts governmental entity.
There are no strict rules that govern the manner in which requests for public information should be made. Requests may be made in person or in writing. Written requests may be made in person, by mail, facsimile, or email. An Records Access Officer (RAO) must provide information on their custodian’s website with respect to requests for public records. A requester must provide the RAO with a reasonable description of the desired information.
The RAO must respond to requests without unreasonable delay and within ten business days. The RAO may offer to provide records; provide a fee estimate, where applicable; or deny access to records in a manner consistent with M.G.L. c. 66, §10A-10B.