senate Bill S6718
(R, C, IP) 61st Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed by Governor
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.
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