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A00526 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A526A
 
SPONSOR: Paulin (MS)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation to amending the definition of a "public body"   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill will require that entities created or appointed to perform a necessary governmental function in the decision-making process are subject to the Open Meetings Law.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one of the bill amends subdivision two of section 102 of the public officers law to require that an entity created or appointed to perform a necessary governmental function in the decision-making process be included in the definition of a "public body", and therefore subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings Law. Section two provides the effective date. JUSTIFICATION: "It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner; and the citi- zens of this State be fully aware of and able to observe the perform- ances of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy; and the people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who are their public servants; and the Open Meetings Law requires every meeting of a public body shall be open to the general public." This directive, an excerpt from Executive Order first issued in 2007 and reaffirmed by Governor Cuomo was issued in an effort to achieve openness and transparency in access to the governmental decision-making process. Nevertheless, there are a number of bodies created by executive order or created to perform functions in the governmental decision-making proc- ess, that are not subject to the Open Meetings Law. Due to this, these bodies conduct business behind closed doors and have excluded interested parties who have attempted to attend its sessions. In keeping with recent legislative initiatives aimed at greater transparency, these bodies should be open to public scrutiny. The work of our state's public bodies has a profound effect on the functioning of government and it is essential to our democratic process that members of the public are fully aware of and have the opportunity to observe the deliberations and deci- sions that go into the making of public policy. This legislation will ensure that those bodies which play a key role in the decision making process are covered by the Open Meetings Law, even if they do not have the authority to make final and binding decisions.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: A.5783, 2017 and 2018, referred to governmental operations. Similar to A.1389 of 2015 and 2016, referred to governmental operations. A. 413, 2013 and 2014 referred to governmental operations. A.74, 2011 and 2012 referred to governmental operations. A.3081, 2009 and 2010 referred to governmental operations. A.11085, 2008 referred to rules. Same as S.2422 of 23015 and 2015, referred to investigations and govern- mental operations. S.1548, 2013 and 2014 referred to investigations and governmental oper- ations. S.1772, 2011 and 2012 referred to investigations and governmental oper- ations. Same as S.3247, 2009 and 2010 referred to investigations and govern- mental operations. Same as S.7424A, 2008 passed in the Senate.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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