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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3310         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3353

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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PRESENTED BY:

James J. Lyons, Jr.

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act increasing the penalties for violations of public records laws.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

James J. Lyons, Jr.

18th Essex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 3310        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 3353

By Mr. Lyons of Andover, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 3353) of James J. Lyons, Jr. relative to the penalties for violations of public records laws.  The Judiciary. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

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In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

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An Act increasing the penalties for violations of public records laws.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 10 of chapter 66 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “who”, in line 30, the following:-

              , in addition to enforcing the penalties set forth in section 15,

              SECTION 2. Chapter 66 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by striking out section 15, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 15. (a)  The attorney general or the appropriate district attorney for the county in which a public record is held shall take action against any person who unlawfully keeps in the person’s possession, or causes to be kept in the person’s employer’s possession, any public record.  Whoever unlawfully keeps in their possession, or causes to be kept in their employer’s possession, any public record beyond the tenth day following receipt of a request for inspection or copy of a public record shall for the first offense be punished by a personal fine of $10 per day, shall for the second offense be punished by a personal fine of $25 per day, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both, and shall for any subsequent offenses be punished by a personal fine of $50 per day, or imprisonment for not less than 6 months nor more than 2 years, or both. 

              The failure to pay any fine imposed or produce any records required by this subsection shall be punishable by imprisonment for not more than 6 months.

              (b) Whoever unlawfully keeps in the person’s possession, or causes to be kept in the person’s employer’s possession, any public record shall pay all costs and attorneys’ fees associated with any administrative or court proceeding necessary to ensure the person’s compliance with any of the provisions of this chapter.

              (c) Whoever unlawfully removes any public record from the room where it is usually kept, or alters, defaces, mutilates or destroys any public record or otherwise violates any provision of this chapter shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $500, or by imprisonment for not more than 1 year, or both. Any public officer who refuses or neglects to perform any duty required of him by this chapter shall for each month of such neglect or refusal be punished by a fine of not more than $20 in addition to any fines imposed under subsection (a).

              (d) The secretary of the commonwealth shall be responsible for collecting the fees imposed by this section.  The secretary shall, within 10 days of receiving notice of a violation triggering the penalties of subsections (a) or (c), take action to ensure compliance with this section.

              (e) The secretary of the commonwealth shall pay a fine of $250 per day for any failure to take action beyond the tenth day of receiving notice of a violation triggering the penalties of subsections (a) or (c). 

              (f) The superior court shall have exclusive jurisdiction to enforce this section and may impose additional penalties for a third and any subsequent violation of any provision of this chapter. 

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