senate Bill S6593

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Makes the port authority of New York and New Jersey subject to certain freedom of information laws

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Feb 11, 2014 referred to investigations and government operations

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S6593 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A8841
Current Committee:
Senate Investigations And Government Operations
Law Section:
Public Officers Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §86, Pub Off L; add §1 Art XV-B, Chap 154 of 1921

S6593 - Bill Texts

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Makes the port authority of New York and New Jersey subject to certain freedom of information laws.

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BILL NUMBER:S6593

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law and chapter
154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port authority of New York and
New Jersey, in relation to making the port authority of New York and
New Jersey subject to certain freedom of information laws

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill, the Port Authority Open
Government Act, subjects the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
to New York State's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and New Jersey's
Open Public Records Act (OPRA).

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends Section 86 of the Public Officers Law to explicitly
include the Port Authority of New York & Jersey in the definition of
"agency" for the purposes of FOIL.

Section 2 amends Chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 to add a new Article
XV-B stating that the Port Authority is subject to the provisions of
FOIL and OPRA.

Section 3 states that the bill shall take effect upon the enactment of
legislation having an identical effect by the state of New Jersey, or,
if such legislation has already been enacted, immediately.

JUSTIFICATION: Under prevailing case law, the Port Authority is not
subject either to New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) or New
Jersey's Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Instead, requests from the
public and press for government records from the Port Authority are
considered under the Port Authority's self-promulgated internal
"Freedom of Information Code" (FOI Code).

The Port Authority's FOI Code is an insufficient guarantee of public
access. Because it is policy, rather than law, it can be altered
without legislative oversight, and inconvenient or politically
sensitive requests can be ignored without consequence, as no state
courts appear to have clear jurisdiction to appeal a denial of an FOI
Code request.

As recent events have demonstrated, there is a pressing need for
transparency and accountability at the Port Authority in order to help
restore public confidence in the agency. This bill will close a
loophole in the law that exempts the Port Authority from standard
access to government records and ensure that the public has the same
right to information from the Port Authority as it does from any other
state agency or authority. The New York Department of State's
Committee on Open Government supports legislation that would
accomplish this goal as stated in its December 2013 report Solidifying
a Culture of Openness.

Any laws affecting the Port Authority must be enacted by both New York
and New Jersey. This bill explicitly subjects the Port Authority to
both FOIL and OPRA, having the same effect as legislation that has
already been introduced in New Jersey.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.


FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: The bill shall take effect upon the enactment of
legislation having an identical effect by the state of New Jersey, or,
if such legislation has already been enacted, immediately.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  6593

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            February 11, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. HOYLMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern-
  ment Operations

AN ACT to amend the public officers law and chapter 154 of the  laws  of
  1921  relating  to  the  port authority of New York and New Jersey, in
  relation to making the port authority  of  New  York  and  New  Jersey
  subject to certain freedom of information laws

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subdivision 3 of section 86 of the public officers law,  as
added by chapter 933 of the laws of 1977, is amended to read as follows:
  3.  "Agency"  means  any state or municipal department, board, bureau,
division, commission, committee, public authority,  public  corporation,
council,  office  or other governmental entity performing a governmental
or proprietary function for the state or any one or more  municipalities
thereof, INCLUDING THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, except
the judiciary or the state legislature.
  S  2.  Section  1  of chapter 154 of the laws of 1921, relating to the
port authority of New York and New Jersey, is amended by  adding  a  new
article XV-B to read as follows:
                              ARTICLE XV-B
  THE  PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE
PROVISIONS OF NEW YORK PUBLIC  OFFICERS  LAW  SECTIONS  84-90,  COMMONLY
KNOWN  AS  THE  FREEDOM OF INFORMATION LAW, AND TO THE PROVISIONS OF NEW
JERSEY P.L. 1963, C.73 (C.47: 1A-1 ET SEQ.), COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE  OPEN
PUBLIC RECORDS ACT.
  S  3.  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, then it shall take effect immediately;  provided,  however,
the  state  of  New  Jersey  shall  notify the legislative bill drafting
commission upon the  occurrence  of  the  enactment  of  the  provisions
provided  for  in  this act 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  provisions  of
section  44  of the legislative law and section 70-b of the public offi-
cers law.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD13834-01-4

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