Provides for the confidentiality of personnel records maintained by the department of taxation and finance for individuals defined as police and peace officers.
BILL NUMBER: S1766
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to the confidentiality of certain personnel records maintained by the department of taxation and finance
PURPOSE : To amend Section 50-a of the Civil Rights Law so as to include police officers and peace officers employed by the Department of Taxation and Finance within the group of law enforcement and public safety officials whose personnel records are deemed confidential by statute.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : The proposed amendment renders confidential the personnel files of those individuals in the Department's employ who hold peace officer status pursuant to section 2.10 of the Criminal Procedure Law or police officer status pursuant to section 1.20 of the CPL. Moreover, the proposed amendment provides that only with the consent of the affected employee or pursuant to a lawful court order can the personnel file be inspected or its contents be made public.
EXISTING LAW : Presently, Section 50-a of the Civil Rights Law renders confidential the personnel files of police officers, State and county correction officers, firefighters and firefighter/paramedics and parole officers.
JUSTIFICATION : This bill grants protection to law enforcement personnel employed by the Department of Taxation and Finance, similar to that granted to Parole Officers by Chapter 137 of the laws of 2002. The Department of Taxation and Finance is responsible for enforcing criminal laws that relate to taxes including taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, gasoline and sales and use taxes. The Department employs law enforcement professionals who are authorized under the Criminal Procedure Law to exercise the powers of police officers and peace officers in enforcing these tax laws. Their duties include criminal investigations, serving warrants, and making arrests. These duties expose them to the same risks as other law enforcement officers and they must maintain similar levels of physical fitness to perform their duties. They should therefore be granted the same type of protection as that offered to other law enforcement professionals. In the absence of this protection, a person who is the subject of a criminal investigation by these law enforcement officers could obtain access to the personnel records of an enforcement officer, which could reveal that officer's home address and other information that could be used to threaten or harass an officer or their family. The law has recognized the need for this confidentiality for other law enforcement personnel. Since these employees of the Department of Taxation & Finance also perform law enforcement duties, they need similar protection.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : S.3031/A.8407 of 2003-04. Passed Senate in 2003 and 2004. S.2159/A.4255 of 2005-06. Passed Senate in 2005 and 2006. S.1295/A.7525 of 2007-08.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.
EFFECTIVE DATE : Immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1766 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 6, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sen. FARLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to the confidentiality of certain personnel records maintained by the department of taxation and finance THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 1 of section 50-a of the civil rights law, as amended by chapter 137 of the laws of 2002, is amended to read as follows: 1. All personnel records, used to evaluate performance toward contin- ued employment or promotion, under the control of any police agency or department of the state or any political subdivision thereof including authorities or agencies maintaining police forces of individuals defined as police officers in section 1.20 of the criminal procedure law
[and], such personnel records under the control of a sheriff's department or a department of correction of individuals employed as correction officers [and], such personnel records under the control of a paid fire depart- ment or force of individuals employed as firefighters or firefighter/paramedics [and], such personnel records under the control of the division of parole for individuals defined as peace officers pursuant to subdivisions twenty-three and twenty-three-a of section 2.10 of the criminal procedure law AND SUCH PERSONNEL RECORDS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE FOR INDIVIDUALS DEFINED AS POLICE OFFICERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 1.20 OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW OR AS PEACE OFFICERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 2.10 OF THE CRIM- INAL PROCEDURE LAW shall be considered confidential and not subject to inspection or review without the express written consent of such police officer, firefighter, firefighter/paramedic, correction officer, PEACE OFFICER OR POLICE OFFICER EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE or peace officer within the division of parole except as may be mandated by lawful court order. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04062-01-9