Will — Please support H.2772 and S.1676
When the watchdog group the State Integrity Investigation graded states on how well they make public information available, Massachusetts failed.
State Sen. Jason Lewis and Rep. Peter Kocot aim to improve the state’s reputation with a new bill that would increase public access to records. But even if the bill passes, open government advocates interviewed by Boston.com say that, as well intentioned as the bill may be, it’s not enough.
Thomas Workman, a Taunton attorney who frequently testifies as an expert witness in drunken driving cases, has spent years gathering data on the accuracy of Breathalyzer machines across the country. Ohio, South Carolina, and Washington all provided copies of their databases of breath-alcohol test results for free. Wisconsin offered the data for $75. But when Workman requested similar information from his home state, he ran into a hurdle that stopped him cold: The Massachusetts State Police demanded $2.7 million for its records.
Kocot said that among the 45 House lawmakers supporting the bill, 18 are in leadership positions, which bodes well for the reforms. The bill is in the joint committee Kocot chairs, along with an identical bill sponsored by state Sen. Jason M. Lewis, D-Winchester.
It’s a small start but it’s a start to improving services that we should just take for granted here in Massachusetts.