URGENT ACTION on public records: Tell them how to vote! On Thursday, February 4, state Senators will finally vote to reform our public records law, which has not been meaningfully updated since 1973. Make sure they support the strongest legislation possible! Call your state Senator before 11am on February 4 Find your state Senator and urge them to: Support Senate Bill 2120, An Act to Improve Public Records, and: Oppose all efforts to weaken the Ways & Means bill, including limiting the awarding of attorneys’ fees (Oppose amendment 15) and extending the time for responding to records requests (Oppose amendments 10, 11, 12, and 57) Support amendments to improve access to public records, including making records more affordable (Support amendments 25 & 35); guaranteeing attorney fees when officials deny records until they are taken to court (Support amendment 22); and increasing electronic records access (Support amendments 21 & 51) Email your state Senator to stand strong for transparency. Ask Governor Baker to withdraw his opposition to accepting Syrian refugees Governor Baker’s remarks on Monday in opposition to the settlement of Syrian refugees in Massachusetts were unfounded, dangerous, and against our Commonwealth’s values. The Governor’s remarks ignored the dangerous and heartbreaking conditions from which refugees are fleeing, the rigorous screening process that Syrian refugees face before coming to the U.S., and our elected officials’ own duty to uphold our state and federal constitutions. Ask Governor Baker to send a message that Massachusetts is a welcoming home for refugees. Protect electronic privacy The Electronic Privacy Act would protect the personal electronic records that define our lives in the 21st century. It would require law enforcement to obtain probable cause warrants in order to access: (1) the content of our electronic communication such as emails or chats; (2) information we store online in “the cloud,” such as photos, documents, digital address books and calendars, or internet search terms; and (3) real-time and historical location information. Urge lawmakers to act. Ask your legislators to support government transparency Before their August recess, lawmakers pledged to take up our top priority public records reform legislation when they returned to Beacon Hill. Now, they’re back, and it’s time to hold them to their promise. Contact your legislators today and ask them to pass public records reform without delay and without watering it down. End transgender discrimination in Massachusetts In 2011, Massachusetts passed a law banning gender identity discrimination in many arenas, but not in public accommodations—all the places we go when we’re not at home, work, or school. That means that people across the Commonwealth continue to face legal discrimination in all kinds of everyday places—like movie theaters, parks, public transportation and restaurants. Tell your legislators: Massachusetts can’t settle for less than full LGBT legal equality. Repeal mandatory minimum sentences Mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses force judges to put people in prison—sometimes for much longer than necessary—regardless of the person’s need for treatment or lack of a prior criminal record. Ask your legislators to make criminal justice in Massachusetts more just. Photo by Bryan MacCormack.