Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway) announced that the Assembly passed a package of bills encouraging transparency in government. March 11-17 is Sunshine Week, a non-partisan initiative intended to promote the importance of freedom of information and open government.
“Open government, accountability and citizen participation is what Sunshine Week is all about,” Goldfeder said. “This package of bills allows New Yorkers to have greater access to state government by increasing openness and accountability.”
The Assembly’s legislative package includes bills to:
- 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, 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 (A.9112).
The Sunshine Week package also 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 (A.9460); by permitting access to records that are 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, Goldfeder noted.
“We need to restore the publics trust in government. Southern Queens and Rockaway families deserve an open government that works for them,” said Goldfeder.