June 14, 2012
Re: Amendments to the Open Public Records and Open Public Meetings Act
Earlier today Senator Weinberg and Senate President Sweeney held a press conference to renew the push for passage of S-1451, amending the Open Public Meetings Act, and S-1452, amending the Open Public Records Act.
During the press conference Senator Weinberg noted that she would be introducing provisions, either as amendments to S-1451 and S-1452 or as separate bills, to reform the Government Records Council (GRC) in order to improve the agency’s independence and effectiveness. According to Senator Weinberg, “under the new language, the Senate President and Assembly Speaker would each be able to appoint a member to the GRC and members of the Governor’s Cabinet who currently serve on the Council would be removed. The new language would also prevent the Governor from removing the Chair of the GRC, similar to the protections in place for the State Comptroller, and the review process would be expedited, with new deadlines as to when the GRC must issue a decision on a pending case. Finally, the new language would mandate the format and structure of GRC meetings, to ensure that the agency serves as a model for other government agencies of transparency and accountability.”
The League has been a long time proponent of open and transparent government. The League has continually suggested that any amendments to the Open Public Records Act and the Open Public Meetings Act must be applied to all elected officials, including the State Legislature. Citizens have the right to have all levels of their government, including the Legislature, be transparent and accountable. Just as local officials are elected by the public and spend taxpayer dollars, so are the members of the Legislature.
We encourage you to contact your Senator and Assembly representative expressing your concerns with the proposed legislation and request that the provisions apply to all levels of government. For more information please see our Dear Mayor Letters of March 7, March 2 (OPMA) and March 2 (OPRA).
If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact Lori Buckelew at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481 x112.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.