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Sunshine Week Legislation Passed

Assembly passes legislation to increase accountability and openness in state government

 

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-New City) announced the passage of the seventh annual legislative package. The legislation calls for more openness in state government. Its purpose is to alert citizens to the importance of public participation and transparency in government.

“I am supporting this legislative package because the hard working families of Rockland County deserve a state government that at its core works for them,” said .

This year’s package includes bills that would:

  • bar government agencies from inappropriately using the copyright law to deny access to a public record (A.6787);
  • limit the time in which state agencies would have to appeal court decisions that order the release of documents as required by FOIL (A.68);
  • require entities that are exempt from disclosure under FOIL – in order to protect trade secrets – and who submit records to state agencies, to periodically re-apply for the exemption (A.9022); and
  • establish an inventory and audit process, administered by the commissioner of the Office for General Services, to document every parcel of real property that has been sold by the state and that is subject to a written clause (A.9112).

Additionally, the Sunshine Week package includes a bill passed by the Assembly addressing the availability of records involved in a judicial proceeding; making them available to the public and media outlets if there is no risk the disclosure would disrupt the proceedings (A.9460). The bill would permit access to records held by law enforcement agencies or are related to ongoing litigation if it has been deemed by the presiding judge that no interference with the investigation or proceedings would occur due to the release of the records. These changes would circumvent arbitrary denials of access that have occurred in the past, Zebrowski noted.

Sunshine Week is a national, non-partisan initiative to open a dialogue about the significance of freedom of information and open government.

“We as elected officials need to restore the public trust in government," said Zebrowski. "Rockland County taxpayers have a right to know where their money is being spent and how our decisions are going to affect the community.” 

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