May 14, 2012
BOSTON — On Monday, Attorney General Martha Coakley called for an amendment to the state's open meeting law. The need for change comes as no surprise to those who have followed the State Integrity Investigation, a nationwide look at corruption risk.
Massachusetts flunked the "public access to information" category on the SII report card. Investigators found that while citizens have a legally enshrined right to government information and records, in practice those rights are hard to access. The state earned a C overall, placing it 11th in the nation for corruption risk.
"The amendment would clarify the standard for a finding by the AG of an intentional violation of the Open Meeting Law," Coakley said in a statement.
The current law states that a violation is considered "intentional" if it occurs after the official or governmental body has been given a warning by a court or prosecutor. Coakley's change would add situations where the board or member "acted with specific intent to violate the law" or "with deliberate ignorance of the law’s requirements."
The Massachusetts Legislature is exempt from the open meeting law.
The attorney general's office plans to hold a public hearing on the regulation in July.
> > READ: The AG's press release
THE STATE INTEGRITY INITIATIVE