Requires records, including a proposed resolution, law, rule, regulation, policy or amendment thereto, scheduled to be presented and discussed by a public body at an open meeting be made available for review to the public; requires such records be made available on the agency's website if it is regularly updated and they utilize a high speed internet connection.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to requiring certain records which are the subject of a discussion conducted at an open meeting be made available to the public
PURPOSE: To require that certain records, which are scheduled to be the subject of discussion at an open meeting, be made available, to the extent practicable, prior to or at such meeting.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one amends section 103 of the Public Officers Law by adding a new subdivision (e). This new subdivision requires that certain records, which are scheduled to be the subject of discussion by a public body during an open meeting, shall be made available, to the extent practicable as determined by the agency or department, prior to or at the meeting. Copies of such records may be made available for a reasonable fee, determined in the same manner as for a FOIL request. If the agency in which a public body functions maintains a regularly updated website and has access to a high speed internet connection, such records shall be posted on the website as soon as practicable as determined by the agency or department, prior to the meeting. This section also clarifies that an agency may, but shall not be required to, expend additional moneys to implement the provisions of this section.
Section two defines the effective date as thirty days following the enactment date.
JUSTIFICATION: In many instances, a public body covered by the Open Meetings Law conducts a discussion of a record which was not made available to the public prior to or at the meeting. Thus, although members of the public are present at the meeting, they are unable to observe the proceedings in a meaningful way. This legislation seeks to implement the recommendations made by the Committee on Open Government to correct this problem and enhance the public's right to observe the decision-making process.
If enacted into law, this bill would require that public bodies covered by the Open Meetings Law make records available to the public that are scheduled to be discussed at the body's meeting. Specifically, this legislation would require that such records be made available to the public prior to or at the meeting, to the extent practicable, and posted on the relevant agency's website, if it maintains one and has access to a high speed internet connection, as soon as practicable prior to the meeting.
This legislation will actually decrease the burdens imposed on agencies. Making certain records available on the agency website, or in hard copy at or prior to the meeting, greatly reduces the likelihood of FOIL requests for the records after the meeting is held. Additionally, posting the record on the agency's website
imposes no cost to the agency, and eliminates the majority of administrative tasks necessary to process a FOIL request. Such proactive disclosure has been strongly recommended by the Committee on Open Government and comports with the movement toward transparency in government taking place at the state and federal levels.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: S.6849A- Referred to Investigations and Government Operations
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3255--B 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE February 14, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. SALAND -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public officers law, in relation to requiring certain records which are the subject of a discussion conducted at an open meeting be made available to the public THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 103 of the public officers law is amended by adding a new subdivision (e) to read as follows: (E) AGENCY RECORDS AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIX OF THIS CHAPTER, AS WELL AS ANY PROPOSED RESOLUTION, LAW, RULE, REGULATION, POLICY OR ANY AMENDMENT THERETO, THAT IS SCHEDULED TO BE THE SUBJECT OF DISCUSSION BY A PUBLIC BODY DURING AN OPEN MEETING SHALL BE MADE AVAIL- ABLE, UPON REQUEST THEREFOR, TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE AS DETERMINED BY THE AGENCY OR THE DEPARTMENT, PRIOR TO OR AT THE MEETING DURING WHICH THE RECORDS WILL BE DISCUSSED. COPIES OF SUCH RECORDS MAY BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR A REASONABLE FEE, DETERMINED IN THE SAME MANNER AS PROVIDED THEREFOR IN ARTICLE SIX OF THIS CHAPTER. IF THE AGENCY IN WHICH A PUBLIC BODY FUNCTIONS MAINTAINS A REGULARLY AND ROUTINELY UPDATED WEBSITE AND UTILIZES A HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNECTION, SUCH RECORDS SHALL BE POSTED ON THE WEBSITE TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE AS DETERMINED BY THE AGENCY OR THE DEPARTMENT, PRIOR TO THE MEETING. AN AGENCY MAY, BUT SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO, EXPEND ADDITIONAL MONEYS TO IMPLEMENT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 2. This act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00911-10-1