Posts For Category: "Uncategorized"

Police Questionnaire in Mass. Prompts First Amendment, Open Government Challenges

By Lucas Uhl With protests against police brutality erupting across the nation, Massachusetts passed a law in 2020 to help prevent law enforcement misconduct in the state. The new law, among other things, established the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission. The nine-member commission is tasked with recertifying police officers to ensure that they […]

New England States Consider Variety of Approaches to Post-Pandemic Remote Meetings

By Jon Cubetus As New England states continue to remove the COVID-19 restrictions in place since early 2020, legislators are now wrestling with a byproduct of the pandemic that many argue should remain: remote access to public meetings. With government proceedings online and the opportunity for the public to participate remotely, citizen engagement, at least […]

Delay, Delay, Delay

Have a public records story you would like to share? Email justin@nefac.org with your experience trying to obtain information through a state public records law. By Colman M. Herman As I have documented in CommonWealth magazine, the Massachusetts public records law that went into effect in 2017 is no better than the old one. Here’s a […]

Charlie and Maura on Public Records

Have a public records story you would like to share? Email justin@nefac.org with your experience trying to obtain information through a state public records law. By Colman M. Herman During Charlie Baker’s successful 2014 campaign for Massachusetts governor, I asked a top aide whether Baker would support legislation that would subject the governor’s office to […]

Work Like There Are 625,000 Vermonters Looking Over Our Shoulders

By Jim Condos COVID-19 has strained so many of our institutions over the last year. As our Vermont government agencies work to support our state through this crisis, we must always work to maintain the public’s right to know. Fortunately, in Vermont we have made great strides. Confidence in our public institutions is needed now […]

Battle with Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles Highlights Flaws in Public Records Law

Have a public records story you would like to share? Email justin@nefac.org with your experience trying to obtain information through a state public records law. By Colman M. Herman Clark Ziegler’s experience in trying to access public records typifies much of what is still wrong with the Massachusetts Public Records Law, even though it was […]

Our Five Freedoms

This essay originally appeared in F1rst Things F1rst, a publication by the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Click here to learn more. By Gregory V. Sullivan We the people of the United States enjoy a system of government wherein our three branches, executive, legislative and judicial are intended to provide checks and balances upon […]

Unpopular Speech

This essay originally appeared in F1rst Things F1rst, a publication by the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. Click here to learn more. By Justin Silverman About 50 years ago a Chicago attorney received a phone call from a man being prevented from demonstrating in a small town northwest of the city. Town officials, the […]

Mass. High Court Orders Disclosure of Police Incident Reports and Prosecution Data

By Jeffrey J. Pyle and Michael J. Lambert In a pair of decisions released on March 12, 2020, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ordered law enforcement agencies to provide incident reports, mugshots, and prosecution data to The Boston Globe.  In both decisions, the SJC rejected arguments — long invoked by agencies and municipalities — […]

Government Should Be an Open Book

By Jim Condos Trust in government is at an all-time low. As you can see playing out before our eyes in the news today, integrity is at a premium in times of crisis. Truth and transparency are necessary to effective leadership. In Vermont, we take great pride in having a government that is more accessible […]