Relates to the disclosure of records and meetings by the port authority of New York and New Jersey to the public; provides that the state law with the greatest rights of access shall be deemed to apply where laws conflict.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port authority of New York and New Jersey, in relation to the disclosure of records and meetings
PURPOSE: To require that records of the port authority and meetings of the board and its committees be open to the public.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 - amends Chapter 154 of the Laws of 1921 to provide that notwithstanding any provision to the contrary, the records of the Port Authority and meetings of the board, as well as its committees and subcommittees consisting of two or more commissioners, shall be open to the public in accordance with the laws of New York, Public Officers Law, Articles 6, 6-A and 7, and New Jersey, NJSA 47:1A et seq. and NJSA 10:4-8 et seq., pertaining to the disclosure of government records and public access to meetings of government bodies. The section further provides that when there is inconsistency between the laws of the State of New York and the laws of the State of New Jersey, the law that provides the greatest rights of access shall be deemed to apply. Additionally, any aggrieved person shall have standing to seek to compel compliance with applicable law in either the State of New York pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules or the State of New Jersey pursuant to NJSA 47: 1-A et seq. and NJSA 10:4-8 et seq. when the laws of either state would authorize the initiation of such a proceeding.
Section 2 - provides a severability clause.
Section 3 - provides the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority) is not subject to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) or the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), respectively, of New York or New Jersey. Although the Port Authority has established policies regarding access to its records and opening its meetings, these are simply policies, which can be ignored or altered at any time, subject only to the discretion of the board or executive officers then serving. Further, because these policies cannot be enforced, the Port Authority may choose to withhold its records and close meetings of its governing body, leaving the public without recourse if the records are not provided. Finally, since the Port Authority is a bi-state agency, neither state can impose its laws beyond its borders.
Recent events involving the Port Authority have highlighted the necessity of making the Port Authority subject to FOIL and OPRA. This legislation will ensure that members of the public have access to the records of the Port Authority and meetings of its board, committees and subcommittees, and the ability to seek recourse if such access is denied. The Committee on Open Government has urged that the Port Authority be subject to FOIL and OPRA, and has been directly involved in drafting this legislation.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect upon the enactment into law by the State of New Jersey of legislation having an identical effect with this act, but if the state of New Jersey shall have already enacted such legislation, this act shall take effect immediately. The Chairman of the Port Authority shall notify the Legislative Bill Drafting Commission upon the enactment into law of such legislation by both such states in order that the commission may maintain an accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the Laws of the State of New York in furtherance of effecting the provision of section 44 of the Legislative Law and section 70-b of the Public Officers Law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6718 IN SENATE March 3, 2014 ___________Introduced by Sens. RANZENHOFER, GOLDEN, LANZA, HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions AN ACT to amend chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port authority of New York and New Jersey, in relation to the disclosure of records and meetings THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 1 of chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port authority of New York and New Jersey is amended by adding a new article XV-B to read as follows: ARTICLE XV-B. 1. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION TO THE CONTRARY, THE RECORDS OF THE PORT AUTHORITY AND MEETINGS OF THE BOARD, AS WELL AS ITS COMMITTEES AND SUBCOMMITTEES CONSISTING OF TWO OR MORE COMMISSIONERS, SHALL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF NEW YORK, ARTICLES 6, 6-A AND 7 OF THE PUBLIC OFFICERS LAW, AND NEW JERSEY, NJSA 47:1A ET SEQ. AND NJSA 10:4-8 ET SEQ., PERTAINING TO THE DISCLOSURE OF GOVERNMENT RECORDS AND PUBLIC ACCESS TO MEETINGS OF GOVERNMENT BODIES. 2. WHEN THERE IS INCONSISTENCY BETWEEN THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK AND THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, THE LAW THAT PROVIDES THE GREATEST RIGHTS OF ACCESS SHALL BE DEEMED TO APPLY. 3. ANY AGGRIEVED PERSON SHALL HAVE STANDING TO SEEK TO COMPEL COMPLI- ANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW IN EITHER THE STATE OF NEW YORK PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 78 OF THE CIVIL PRACTICE LAW AND RULES OR THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY PURSUANT TO NJSA 47:1-A ET SEQ. AND NJSA 10:4-8 ET SEQ. WHEN THE LAWS OF EITHER STATE WOULD AUTHORIZE THE INITIATION OF SUCH A PROCEED- ING. S 2. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi- sion, section or part of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, sectionEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14027-01-4 S. 6718 2
or part thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judg- ment shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of the legislature that this act would have been enacted even if such invalid provisions had not been included herein. S 3. This act shall take effect upon the enactment into law by the state of New Jersey of legislation having an identical effect with this act, but if the state of New Jersey shall have already enacted such legislation, this act shall take effect immediately. The chairman of the port authority shall notify the legislative bill drafting commission upon the enactment into law of such legislation by both such states in order that the commission may maintain an accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the laws of the state of New York in furtherance of effecting the provision of section 44 of the legislative law and section 70-b of the public officers law.