Relates to publishing records of public interest by agencies and the legislature on their websites.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to publishing records of public interest by agencies and the state legislature
PURPOSE: This bill requires each agency and house of the legislature to publish records proactively on its internet website that are, or are likely to be the subject of frequent requests from the same or substantially the same records available under the freedom of information law.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill amends section 84 of the public officers law to acknowledge the changes in technology since the law was first enacted in the 1970s, and to encourage agencies to publish records proactively.
Section two of the bill renumbers section 90 of the public officers law as section 90-a, and a new section 90 is added to require that each agency and house of the state legislature shall publish, on its internet website, to the extent that its practicable, records or portions of records that are available to the public pursuant to the provisions of this article, or which, in consideration of their nature, content or subject matter, are determined by the agency to be of substantial interest to the public.
In addition, this section provides that records may be removed from the internet website when the agency determines that they are no longer of substantial interest to the public or when they have reached the end of their legal retention period.
The provisions of subdivision one of this section shall not apply to records or portions of records the disclosure of which would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy in accordance with subdivision two of section eighty-nine of this article., The committee on open government shall promulgate regulations to effectuate the section.
Section three of the bill sets forth the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: The Electronic Freedom of Information Act of 1996, popularly known as E-FOIA, amended the federal disclosure statutes to require agencies to publish records that are frequently requested, and available to the public under the law, proactively (5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(2)(D). Federal agencies have interpreted frequently requested to mean three requests.
Given the advances in technology since the freedom of information law was enacted, and even since E-FOIA, state agencies have the means to publish records proactively. And while many agencies make some records available to the public without a freedom of information request, there is no standard in law for proactive publication. By proactively publish ing records on the, internet that arc likely to be the subject of frequent requests, agencies can refer individuals who request records to their website. According to the committee on open government, it is rare for an individual who is referred to the internet to object and request a hard copy.
FISCAL IMPACT ON THE STATE: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 393--B 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. KRUEGER, SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- recommitted to the Committee on Investigations and Government Oper- ations in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged and said bill committed to the Committee on Rules -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the public officers law, in relation to publishing records of public interest by agencies and the state legislature THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 84 of the public officers law, as added by chapter 933 of the laws of 1977, is amended to read as follows: S 84. Legislative declaration. The legislature hereby finds that a free society is maintained when government is responsive and responsible to the public, and when the public is aware of governmental actions. The more open a government is with its citizenry, the greater the under- standing and participation of the public in government. As state and local government services increase and public problems become more sophisticated and complex and therefore harder to solve, and with the resultant increase in revenues and expenditures, it is incum- bent upon the state and its localities to extend public accountability wherever and whenever feasible. The people's right to know the process of governmental decision-making and to review the documents and statistics leading to determinations is basic to our society. Access to such information should not be thwarted by shrouding it with the cloak of secrecy or confidentiality.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00837-05-2 S. 393--B 2
SINCE THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW, ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY HAVE ENHANCED THE ABILITY TO GAIN ACCESS TO AND WIDELY DISSEMINATE PUBLIC INFORMATION. ACCORDINGLY, THE LEGISLATURE FINDS THAT GOVERNMENT AGEN- CIES, TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE, SHOULD PUBLISH RECORDS THAT ARE OF PUBLIC INTEREST AND AVAILABLE UNDER THIS ARTICLE PROACTIVELY ON THE INTERNET. The legislature therefore declares that government is the public's business and that the public, individually and collectively and repres- ented by a free press, should have access to the records of government in accordance with the provisions of this article. S 2. Section 90 of the public officers law is renumbered section 90-a and a new section 90 is added to read as follows: S 90. RECORDS OF PUBLIC INTEREST. 1. EACH AGENCY AND HOUSE OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE SHALL PUBLISH, ON ITS INTERNET WEBSITE, TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE, RECORDS OR PORTIONS OF RECORDS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE, OR WHICH, IN CONSID- ERATION OF THEIR NATURE, CONTENT OR SUBJECT MATTER, ARE DETERMINED BY THE AGENCY TO BE OF SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST TO THE PUBLIC. ANY SUCH RECORDS MAY BE REMOVED FROM THE INTERNET WEBSITE WHEN THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT THEY ARE NO LONGER OF SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST TO THE PUBLIC. ANY SUCH RECORDS MAY BE REMOVED FROM THE INTERNET WEBSITE WHEN THEY HAVE REACHED THE END OF THEIR LEGAL RETENTION PERIOD. GUIDANCE ON CREATING RECORDS IN ACCESSIBLE FORMATS AND ENSURING THEIR CONTINUING ACCESSIBILITY SHALL BE AVAILABLE FROM THE OFFICE FOR TECHNOLOGY AND THE STATE ARCHIVES. 2. THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO RECORDS OR PORTIONS OF RECORDS THE DISCLOSURE OF WHICH WOULD CONSTI- TUTE AN UNWARRANTED INVASION OF PERSONAL PRIVACY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION EIGHTY-NINE OF THIS ARTICLE. 3. THE COMMITTEE ON OPEN GOVERNMENT SHALL PROMULGATE REGULATIONS TO EFFECTUATE THIS SECTION. 4. NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS TO LIMIT OR ABRIDGE THE POWER OF AN AGENCY OR HOUSE OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE TO PUBLISH RECORDS ON ITS INTERNET WEBSITE THAT ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE PRIOR TO A WRITTEN REQUEST OR PRIOR TO A FREQUENT REQUEST. S 3. This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have become a law.