March 28, 2023, 8:30 am
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General Information About Massachusetts Public Records and Laws
In the state of Massachusetts, public records are available for those who need or wish to view or copy the files. The Massachusetts Public Records Law governs this right and outlines what is considered a public record. In general, it includes all types of written documentation, maps, photographs, recordings or other data made by or received by an employee of any government organization or agency, as well as through divisions or authorities of state or local government facilities.
The state does outline what types of records are available and the list includes all types of documents related to the business of government, including all documents related to the operations, managing and uses of public tax dollars given to a business or a nonprofit agency, including schools. It also provides for all vital statistics for individuals in the state that were born or died in the state, married, divorced or buried here. In Massachusetts, public records also include the documentation of property transfers, taxation, liens, mortgages and other legal transfers of the property. It also governs most types of court cases, both civil and criminal in nature.
There are some exemptions to these rules, though. In most cases, some information remains protected, including the following.
·         Any information that could be a violation of personal privacy laws, or other federally protected types of information are exempt from being available for view or copying.
·         A court or a government official may protect some information from view due to the sensitive nature of it. This includes information related to juvenile court records, police and law enforcement personal information and other information related to an ongoing investigation.
·         Any information that would hinder the safety of the performance, operations or management of an agency of the public is also exempt.
There may be other types of exemptions, depending on the type of Massachusetts public records sought.
To Request a Copy
Individuals who wish to access Massachusetts public records may need to file a written request for the information through the appropriate agency. In other cases, the information may be accessible through the organization's website, if data remains available. In addition to this, third party providers may also provide this data.
The laws of the state do require agencies to take every action possible to provide requested information in a timely manner. However, some types may take longer. A fee may be applicable to cover administrative costs. The following agencies govern some of these records.
·         Vital records are contained within the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.
·         For criminal records, the data is available through the Criminal History Systems Board.
·         Driver’s records may be available through the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
·         Statewide court records are available through the Chief Justice for Administration and Management.
·         The Sex Offender Registry Board handles these types of searches.
The Massachusetts public records searches provide key information related to the needs of individuals and businesses. However, there are limitations and restrictions on abusing the system or using records for commercial gain.
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