StateReference Public Records Requests

Requests made under the Massachusetts Public Records Law

Collection Statistics
# of Items 2,704
# of Documents 51,087
Most Recent Item Request #2024-0971 (Plymouth, MA - Public Records)
Most Recent Item Date

This collection contains public records requests (also known as FOIA requests) made to state agencies and municipalities in Massachusetts. You can learn more about the public records law in Massachusetts from the Public Records Division. They publish an excellent guide.

At StateReference, we gather public records requests (PRRs) from three sources: original requests, piggyback requests, and public records portals.

Original Requests

We make many original requests to collect useful records from agencies and municipalities. For example, we requested public records requests logs from the largest municipalities.

We also host records requested by friends of the site. The vast majority of the POST Commission records were gathered by Jeff Raymond of MassTransparency. We also host records requested by Andrew Quemere of The Mass Dump.

Piggyback Requests

A "piggyback" request is one where we ask for records provided to a previous requester. This is an excellent way to gather a large number of records quickly. The records have already been gathered and redacted by the agency, and, so, providing them to us requires little effort.

For example, Grace Ferguson was a WBUR fellow. In February 2022, she requested from Springfield, MA Officers Terminated, Retired, Resigned with Pending Misconduct Allegations. Later, in June 2023, we asked the City of Springfield to send us all the records the city provided her in response to that request.

Public Records Portals

Some cities and agencies host a public records portal. Popular portal solutions include FOIADirect, NextRequest, and GovQA. These portals allow the records access officer to mark requests as "public" and make them available for anyone to browse and download.

We automatically download "scrape" those public requests, and make them available on StateReference. See, for example, the many records from Framingham, MA and Greenfield, MA.

Currently, we do not automatically import all records these portals make available. The volume is too high, and many requests are not relevant to a general audience.

Below is a list of the portals we monitor. Some of these have a public records archive, but many do not.

Browse Public Records Requests