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After panel fails to meet, legislators extend deadline for group to look at expanding public records law

State lawmakers have approved a measure to give themselves an additional 11 months to complete a report about whether the new public records law should also be applied to the Legislature, the governor’s office, and the judiciary.

The plan to give a legislative commission until Dec. 1, 2018 to complete its work was included in a supplemental budget that passed the House and Senate Thursday, said Peter Wilson, spokesman for Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg. The original deadline for the report was Dec. 30.

The commission was established under an overhaul of the state’s public records law that Governor Charlie Baker signed in June 2016 and took effect at the beginning of the year.


The group must write a report offering proposals for making the Legislature more transparent and address whether the public records law should be expanded to cover more government offices.

Massachusetts is the only state where the Legislature, the governor’s office, and the judiciary all claim to be exempt from public records laws.

The budget proposal is headed to Baker’s desk for consideration. He has until Dec. 10 to act.

In mid-November, The Boston Globe reported that the commission examining the public records law was unlikely to meet the Dec. 30 deadline because the panel has never met and some seats on the commission were vacant.

On Thursday, Rosenberg and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo named their final appointees to the group, Wilson said. They are Senator Cynthia Creem and Representative James M. Murphy.

An earlier statement from the offices of DeLeo and Rosenberg said the commission hadn’t met because of leadership changes to legislative committees.

The panel must be led by the chairmen of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight, but the lawmakers in those roles, Senator Walter F. Timilty and Representative Jennifer Benson, were named to their positions earlier this year and hadn’t had enough time to organize the commission, the statement said.


Another group created under public records reform law has been studying whether to modify the exemptions for certain police records. That panel is on track to submit its report by the end of the year.

Laura Crimaldi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.