BOSTON (CBS) – That distant hum you may have heard through your window late last night wasn’t from UFOs.
It was your state legislature at work, pulling a late-nighter to finish a term paper they’ve had 19 months to work on.
And while there’s no doubt our reps and senators accomplished many commendable things last night, which they’ll be telling you all about in great detail between now and election day, there’s at least one thing they did that is definitely not in the public interest.
One section in a bill tightening loopholes in the way we deal with domestic violence allows police to withhold information about domestic violence arrests from their public log, ostensibly to protect victims from being identified.
As the head of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association noted in a memo quoted by the State House News Service: “Closing police logs could have the unintended consequence of shielding perpetrators from public disclosure — even when the perpetrators are public officials or others in positions of trust or authority.” That happened just a couple of years ago when a local police chief was busted.
The state senator who argued for support of the bill last night called it an effort to “create a situation in which abuse is not something to remain silent about,” which seems ironic given that with this section, the bill promotes silence, while enhancing the unaccountable power of a police agency. And it’s the latest ugly step in an ongoing march toward more government secrecy in our state, led by an executive branch that thinks it should be exempt from the public records law.
Is this really what you want?
Maybe its something to ask your legislator about this fall, when they’re done telling you all about how they have your best interests at heart.
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