A bill to reform the Massachusetts Public Records Law is attracting midsummer heat on Beacon Hill, as lawmakers backing the bill try to strike a compromise with an opposition group that represents commonwealth cities and towns, including on the Vineyard.

The bill aims to significantly strengthen the law by clearing away obstacles for ordinary citizens as well as the members of the media who seek access to government documents and emails. The current law, which dates to 1973, is widely acknowledged to be one of the weakest public records laws in the country. Originally modeled after the federal Freedom of Information Act, the law presumes that most government records are open and public, but through the years a growing list of exemptions have been added. A rule that requires government officials to comply with requests within 10 days has no penalties attached and is routinely ignored, and exorbitant fees are sometimes charged for compiling and redacting documents. In one extreme instance, the Massachusetts state police asked for $2.7 million in response to a request for a database containing records of breathalyzer tests.

Closer to home, last year the Gazette made a detailed request to the town of Tisbury for public records, including minutes of meetings, relating to the Stop & Shop expansion project. It took four months and a number of follow up requests from the newspaper before the town complied.

Early this year the Gazette requested minutes of airport commission meetings for an eight-month period from July 2014 to February 2015. Airport officials have not been responsive to that request.

The reform bill would create a clearer set of guidelines both for people seeking to obtain public records and also for government agencies who are custodians for the records. The bill would cap fees for some document requests and make it easier to obtain documents electronically, among other things. Under the bill, citizens who successfully sue to obtain public records would be awarded attorneys fees. In one compromise measure, the time period for response to a records request would be extended from 10 to 15 days.

Authored by Rep. Peter Kocot, a Northampton Democrat, the bill has the strong backing of Secretary of State William Galvin and Attorney General Maura Healey. It also has solid support on Beacon Hill, including from speakers in the House and Senate and was headed for a vote in the House this week. But that changed after the Massachusetts Municipal Association, a powerful lobby group that represents commonwealth cities and towns, moved in to oppose the bill. The MMA believes the bill would place an undue burden on cities and towns and is calling it an unfunded mandate.

Cape and Islands Rep. Timothy Madden said Thursday that he supports the bill and believes a compromise can be hammered out with MMA with a possible vote now scheduled for next week in the House. “We’re going to tweak it probably to find some compromise but I think we will have a final bill before the August recess,” Mr. Madden said. “I’m going to support it.” He said the bill has seen strong bipartisan support on Beacon Hill. “I’ve talked to some of my Republican colleagues and they are behind it,” Mr. Madden said.

He also said he believes the reforms are long overdue. “We’ve been talking about it for quite awhile . . . . technology has changed so much . . . . [under the current bill] people to take so long to respond to records and it costs so much, it just doesn’t make sense,” he said, adding: “On the other side I know some of the small towns are worried about whether it will cost them more to comply with the law, and I represent a lot of small towns.” But he said he believes those concerns can be addressed without killing the bill.

He said he has heard from a scattering of constituents on the reform bill, none of them from the Island. “No one from the Vineyard has weighed in in opposition,” Mr. Madden said.

That could change after this week. Tisbury selectman Tristan Israel, who heads the all-Island selectmen’s association and sits on a policy committee for the MMA, said he has put the matter on the agenda for next Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting, and wants his board to write a letter of opposition. “I have some real problems with it,” Mr. Israel said of the bill. “The intent is good and there’s going to be a lot of support for it publicly, but the way it is now laid out . . . . I’m concerned about the demands it could place on smaller communities as an unfunded mandate,” he said.

Coincidentally on Friday afternoon the all-Island selectmen’s association, an informal coalition of selectmen in the six towns, is hosting a gathering with spokesmen from the MMA. Mr. Israel organized the meeting, which begins at 2:15 p.m. at the Strand Theatre in Oak Bluffs. He said the public records reform bill was not on the original agenda for discussion but that he now plans to bring it up.

“I think it should be discussed, and I intend to bring it up if nobody else does,” he said, adding: “I understand why this will probably pass and why it sounds good . . . . if I wasn’t in government I would have a different view.”