Cuomo Budget Includes Significant Freedom of Information Law Expansion

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In his executive budget, Governor Cuomo included a legislative package that features Comprehensive Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Reform.

The rest of the policy proposals deserve a critical look from New Yorkers, but making records access law stronger than it has ever been is a notable measure.

The provisions of this proposal would make the State Legislature more fully subject to FOIL, make proposed terms of a collected bargaining agreement available to the public, clarify that access to records may be denied where disclosure could endanger critical infrastructure, and codify proactive disclosure.

These provisions would shed much needed light on the work the Legislature does. Elected officials in Albany steward tax payer dollars – New Yorkers deserve to be more informed about that process.

It’s not the only option that could boost transparency law. A bill has been introduced in the Assembly (A09738) that would also boost proactive disclosure by mandating that state agencies and the legislature post records of public interest their websites.

The bill would require that guidance on creating records in easy-to-access formats be provided by the Office of Technology and the State Archives.

While a blanket mandate to publish records online may not be feasible across every layer of government in New York State, the Legislature can show they are committed to a more open, transparent way of governing by subjecting themselves to New York’s transparency law.