NY Daily News: State Sen. Brad Hoylman to Introduce Bill to Make Port Authority more Transparent

 

February 11, 2014 : By Glenn Blain 

ALBANY - In the wake of Gov. Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, a state lawmaker from Manhattan is looking to shed light on the inner workings of the Port Authority.

Sen. Brad Hoylman, a Democrat, plans to introduce legislation Tuesday that would make the Port Authority comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Law governing the release of internal documents.

“We might avoid future bridgegates if the public and the press had more leverage over confidential documents,” Hoylman told the Daily News.

Hoylman said the Port Authority is not subject to public disclosure laws of either New York or New Jersey. Instead, it has its own policy - known as the Freedom of Information Code - that is less binding and easier to circumvent.

Hoylman noted the code allowed officials to deny several recent media requests for emails and other documents related to the George Washington Bridge scandal.

“This would really close the loophole that has allowed the Port Authority to evade scrutiny from the public, the press and from the legislatures of both states,” Hoylman said.

Hoylman’s bill is modeled after legislation in the New Jersey. Both states need to approve the measure before takes effect.

“I think the timing is certainly ideal for this,” said New Jersey Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-Englewood), a sponsor of the bill.

Huttle said the George Washington Bridge scandal has given new momentum to the measure.

A Port Authority spokesman said the agency already has a “strong commitment to transparency and providing access records.”

Hoylman’s legislation is not the only bill in Albany that calls for reforms at the Port Authority.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Jim Brennan is pressing ahead with legislation that would enact a stricter code of ethics and more stringent financial reporting requirements at the Port Authority.