Massachusetts' public records law seems fairly straightforward, but among those who say they aren't covered by the law is Gov. Deval Patrick.

Throughout his years in office Patrick has followed the lead of past governors, including Mitt Romney, in claiming the governor's office is exempt from the law.

Patrick has pointed to a 1997 Supreme Judicial Court ruling which he and others say essentially releases the Legislature, the judiciary and governor's office from the requirement to make their records public.

The administration says that despite the exemption, Patrick makes every effort to respond to public information requests.

But critics say the public shouldn't have to rely on the governor's judgment, but instead should have a right to the documents.

They concede that persuading lawmakers to change the law is tough, however. (Associated Press)