Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Representative David Vieira Appointed to Serve on Public Records Law Working Group

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative David T. Vieira (R-East Falmouth) as his designee on the working group charged with reviewing and evaluating the application of the public records law as it relates to law enforcement.

Created as part of the recent public records law reform package signed by Governor Charlie Baker, the working group will review determinations of the supervisor of records and judicial decisions related to requests for investigatory materials compiled by law enforcement.  Current law exempts these materials from the public records law if their disclosure “would probably so prejudice the possibility of effective law enforcement that such disclosure would not be in the public interest.”

Following its review, the working group will issue its findings regarding the public interest in releasing records made and kept by police departments, including arrest records, as well as the privacy and confidentiality concerns related to the release of such records.  A report on the working group’s finding and recommendations will be filed with the Legislature by December 30, 2017.

“As the Ranking Member of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Representative Vieira has a firm grasp on the issues that impact law enforcement,” said Representative Jones.  “I believe David’s experience will serve him well on the working group as it considers potential changes to the public records law.”

“Transparency is critical to restoring citizen trust in government, and I look forward to finding the nexus between transparency in law enforcement records and the confidentiality necessary to protect the public interest,” Representative Vieira said.
Representative Vieira is one of four legislators serving on the working group, which will be chaired by Secretary of State William Galvin and include a total of 16 members.  Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett; Court Administrator of the Trial Court Harry Spence; Attorney General Maura Healey; and Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore will also serve as members.

In addition to these state officials, the working group will also include representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts; the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association; the Massachusetts Town Clerks Association; the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association; the State Police Commissioned Officers Association of Mass.; the Massachusetts Coalition of Police; and the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Representative Vieira represents the 3rd Barnstable District, which consists of Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Bourne; Precincts 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 in Falmouth; and the town of Mashpee.