Legislation sponsored by Senator Craig M. Johnson, (D-Nassau), to increase transparency and public scrutiny of state government recently passed the State Senate.
The bill (S.7369/ A.10052) would require the Secretary of State to compile and maintain its first-ever full list of state commissions, boards, councils, task forces, or similar bodies. The list, which will also include each entity's membership and meeting times, is required to be updated yearly and be available to the public.
“The public has to be informed in order for them to be involved,” Senator Johnson said. “My legislation improves accountability and increases government transparency in state government. Frankly, this is something New York State should have been doing a long time ago.”
The measure was introduced after a legislative review of more than 100 statutorily authorized boards, task forces, and commissions, found that only about half had information online, only a third had their public meetings listed and only 45 percent of them had readily available contact information. Forty-one states have some form of centralized compilation or list of state entities.