Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88th District) is introducing five bills to the Assembly to create a more open and accountable state government.
During her time in the Assembly, Amy Paulin has proven to be a powerful advocate of open government. Last year, she wrote the laws which require government agencies designing information systems to do so in a manner that separates public information from non-public data (Chapter 351) and provide for reimbursement of attorneys' fees when a party was compelled to go to court to enforce New York's Open Meetings Laws (Chapter 397).
Robert Freeman, the Executive Director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, remarked that “Assemblywoman Paulin has become a champion in the area of open government.” In response to Paulin’s legislation, Freeman continued: “She has introduced and gained passage of changes in both the FOIL and Open Meetings Law that have and will continue to benefit all New Yorkers.”
Paulin’s new legislation for 2009 will:
- Require entities created by an executive order of the Governor to be subject to New York’s Open Meetings Law (A.3081).
- Give agencies clear statutory authority enabling them to waive fees for Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests when it is sensible and cost effective to do so.
- Modernize the personal privacy protection law by requiring state agencies to transmit records by e-mail whenever possible.
- Require people or entities that initiate judicial proceedings in attempt to prevent a government agency from disclosing records to reimburse the government agency if they fail to meet the necessary burden of proof.
- Streamline the process used to determine whether records submitted to state agencies by commercial enterprises are considered trade secrets and exempt from the FOIL.
“I truly believe in the importance of transparency in government and of people being able to hold their representatives accountable,” said Paulin. “Last year, our state made some great progress in this area, and it is very important that we build on that success this year,” she added.