The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 15, Number 1
Feb 1991


Massachusetts Gets Law on Permanent Paper Policy

On the last day of 1990, Michael Dukakis signed Executive Order No. 293, "Policy on Permanent Paper." This made Massachusetts the seventh state with a law requiring alkaline or permanent paper for sane or all state records. This law is unusual, however, in that it unambiguously requires the use of paper conforming to a national standard of permanence. (The Connecticut law is the only other one that does this. Even the national law does not require paper to meet any standards, either for the federal government's purposes or those of the states, local governments and private sector publishers.)

It starts out like a resolution, establishing the need for long-lasting paper for state purposes, and pointing out the reasonableness and feasibility of the recommended policy. The second part (policy, definitions and implementation) is reproduced below. Complete copies of the law are available from the Newsletter office.

ARTICLE 1. Policy

1.1 The Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall protect and preserve its heritage and the rights and privileges of its citizens by recording textual information of enduring value on permanent paper.

ARTICLE 11. Definitions

2.1 "Permanent paper" shall mean paper that meets or Exceeds the requirements articulated in ANSI Standard Z39.48 as most recently revised.

2.2 "Enduring value" shall mean those documents which should be permanently preserved because of their historical significance, such as Executive Orders; agency annual reports; minutes of public meetings as defined by chapter thirty-A and chapter sixty-six of the Massachusetts General Laws; and birth, death and marriage certificates.

ARTICLE III. Implementation

3.1 All departments and executive branch subdivisions shall use permanent paper in the preparation of public records and publications of enduring value.

3.2 The Purchasing Agent is authorized and directed to assist the Supervisor of Public Records in the preparation of a regulation to be promulgated by the Supervisor regarding the use of permanent paper for public records and publications of enduring value.

3.3 All departments and executive branch subdivisions shall comply with this regulation, and other procedures which may be developed by the Supervisor of Public Records, Records Conservation Board, or State Library regarding the use of permanent paper.

3.4 The State Purchasing Agent shall collaborate with the Supervisor of Public Records to issue a permanent paper specification based on the regulation, and in adopting a schedule for the implementation of the specification.

3.5 The State Librarian shall work cooperatively with the Supervisor of Public Records and the State Archivist to further define "public records and state publications of enduring value."

3.6 The Supervisor of Public Records shall forward the regulation and permanent paper specification to all authorities, public institutions of higher education, and records custodians and purchasing agents in local government jurisdictions, who are strongly urged to adopt comparable policies and regulations.

3.7 'The Supervisor of Public Records shall be responsible for administering the provisions of this Executive Order.

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