2016 – 2017 Session

NOTICE (Feb. 2017): This page requires update. Please refer to the New Jersey Legislature’s website for current information.

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Below is a summary of bills in the 2016-2017 session of the New Jersey Legislature that include provisions relating to public records or meetings or that seek to improve (or serve to curtail) governmental transparency and accountability. The list is meant to be a useful resource, but may not include all pertinent legislation or legislative activity.

The OPMA and OPRA amendments have been re-introduced as S1045 and S1046, respectively (S781 and S782 in the 2014-2015 session).

Some upcoming legislative meetings may be shown in red text below, however please check the Legislature’s website for complete information about legislative agendas and scheduling changes.

 

 

BILL NUMBER DESCRIPTION
A120 Requires access to law enforcement guidelines for processing firearms permit applications upon public records request. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A155)
A312 Requires Division of Local Government Services to include certain property tax information on division’s web page. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A3223 (1R) S2056 (1R) ). On 4/4/2016, Reported out of Assembly Comm. with Amendments, 2nd Reading. On 6/16/2016, Passed Assembly (75-0-2).  On 3/13/2017,  Passed Senate (36-0).  On 3/22/2017,  Approved P.L.2017, c.36.
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=A312
A400 Makes homeowners’ association in which developer’s control of executive board has not been surrendered a public body under “Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act.” On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A2397 S1398)
A456 Custodians of government records must make government records available on the Internet. (Last Session was A3685/S167)
A497 The name, date of birth, and driver’s license number of any person listed in an accident report must be redacted.   (Last Session was S2696/A2445)
A511 Exempts municipal clerk from penalties for Open Public Records Act violations under certain circumstances. In the case of a municipality, redefines a “custodian of a government record” if the municipal clerk has documented at least two attempts within seven days of receiving the request to get the record from the municipal official who actually has it. The custodian of a government record would then be the municipal official who actually has the record. Intended to prevent a clerk from being penalized because of the conduct of another official. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee. (Last Session bill number A487)
A531 Clarifies that records custodians are not subject to penalties under State’s open Public Records law if due diligence is exercised. Specifically, no custodian shall be penalized if they exercised due diligence in attempting to provide access to a government record, by making at least two documented attempts to collect the requested record within seven days of receiving the request. (Last Session bill number A3300)
A569 / S84 Requires all elected or appointed local government officers to receive Ethics training.
(Last Session Bill Number: A172 S3188)
A603 Authorizes special motion to dismiss a “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation” (“SLAPP”). The bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on March 7, 2016, but there has been no action since. No companion Senate bill. (Last Session Bill Number: A3505)
A613 Accident reports involving no government vehicles shall be redacted except to display only the name of the drivers and a diagram of the accident. Accident reports involving government vehicles shall not be redacted. (Last Session was A4142)
A727 Makes the following documents and information not public records: “electronic mail address,” “home telephone numbers,” “cellular telephone numbers,” or that portion of any document which discloses the home address of any person when that person has requested their home address not be subject to disclosure as a public record. If a record is available on a public agency’s website, the custodian may require the requestor to obtain the record from the website. Makes explicit that special service charges may include labor cost of personnel providing the service. Limits fee awards to instances where access was knowingly and willfully denied. GRC must prepare a home-address opt-out form for agencies. Would make mediation mandatory for GRC cases.   Sets fees for records at not more than 50 cents per page. Requestors can be referred to websites if record is on the website. Creates cause of action for public agency to request order from Superior Court limiting right of access in case of OPRA request for “improper purpose.” Adopts Renna Rule for making OPRA requests, states that such requests must “clearly and conspicuously” invoke OPRA. Limits extensions of time to seven additional business days. If records are not picked up within 15 business days after they are available, request is deemed fulfilled. Can be extended to thirty calendar days upon request of requestor. Public agency websites must prominently pose name, phone number, email address and fax number for records custodian. (Last Session A619)
A741 Imposes restrictions concerning Delaware River Port Authority commissioners, officers, and employees regarding employment, gifts, and compensation. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A638)
A744 Imposes restrictions concerning Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioners, officers, and employees regarding employment, gifts, and compensation. 1/27/2016 – Introduced, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A641)
A777/S308 For all meetings held pursuant to OPMA, requires presence of U.S. flag and requires recitation of pledge of allegiance at start of meeting.  (Last Session was A3933/S2608)
A923 / S706 Provides transparency and accountability reforms at Panynj; modifies governance structure; provides legislative oversight of Panynj. 1/27/2016 – Introduced, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A4637 S3066)
A943 / S342 Transfers responsibility for establishment and enforcement of ethical standards for local officials and school officials to the State Ethics Commission. 1/27/2016 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee. On 2/16/2016, S342 (revised bill) received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee. (S729 / A1195 in last session)
A955 Requires public body to publish notice of Public Meeting on official Internet website. For all OPMA meetings, notices must be published on agency’s website if they have one; authorizes meeting notices to also be faxed or emailed. (Last Session was A2332)
A1014 / S358 Exempts from disclosure as public record information provided by individual to government agency under certain circumstances. Exempts from OPRA all personal identifying information submitted to an agency for emergency notification purposes, including name, email address and phone number. (Last Session was A445/S601) (Note: In 2014-2015 Session, passed Assembly 78-0; Reported from Senate Committee but no floor vote.) On 1/27/2016, Introduced And Referred To Assembly Judiciary Committee. On 2/8/2016, Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading. On 2/18/2016, Assembly Floor Amendment Passed (McKeon). On 6/16/2016, Passed Assembly (77-0-0).  A1014 was on the legislative schedule for 10/17/2016.   
http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=A1014
A1089 Limits OPRA exemption for information held by Legislators to information received or held by a legislator regarding an individual residing in any member’s district. Deletes definition of constituent defining a constituent as any State resident or other person communicating with a member of the Legislature. (Last Session was A926)
A1115 Requires Attorney General to appoint special prosecutor when criminal complaint is filed against law enforcement officer. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee. On 9/19/2016, Reported as an Assembly Committee Substitute and Referred to Assembly Appropriations Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A4162 S2718)
A1179 Exempts traffic summons records from public access under State’s open public records law. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee. (Last Session was A1375/S388)
A1308 Omits State Police detectives from Open Public Records Act. Makes “information on a State Police detectives” (sic) not a public record, including an individual’s name, title, position, salary, or any other identification that would reveal the identity of a detective. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee. (Last Session bill number A2373)
A1329 Protects home addresses of law enforcement officers from being released by governmental entities. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A1544 S100)
A1474 Upon request of applicant, name change applications shall not be public records. (Last Session was A4630)
A1534 Requires municipal governing bodies and boards of education to provide sufficient time for all requested public comment at open public meetings. Public comment per speaker must be at least three minutes and public comment session must accommodate all requests for public comment. If length of public comment exceeds scheduled length of meeting, no action may be taken on the subject of the comment until all interested members of the public have been heard. On 1/27/2016 Introduced, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee. (Last Session bill number A523)
A1545 Clarifies that electronic Public Records do not have to be converted to different electronic formats under the State’s open Public Records law. A public agency would not be required to convert documents to a different electronic format than its native electronic format. (Last Session bill number A4255)
A1546 Changes records custodian liability threshold; creates natural disaster exemption. Changes penalty standard from “knowingly and willfully” to “willfully and without just cause.” (Last Session was A4256)
A1701 Requires BPU to allow public comment at Public Meetings; establishes requirements for Public Meetings concerning installation of natural gas conductors and related facilities. (Last Session Bill Number: A4501)
A1836 Includes e-mail addresses in list of confidential items to be redacted from public records under OPRA. Makes email addresses non-public records. On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee.  (Last Session was A1645 S825 )
A1915 Reforms Panynj. 1/27/2016 – Introduced, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A3875)
A2073 Exempts from OPRA any part of a 911 call that discloses a person’s health status, medical condition, medical information or health insurance information. (Last Session was A2050)
A2082 / S2023 Requires OAL to maintain Internet database summarizing all State rule-making actions. (Currently, no record is maintained online; the bill would create a first-time available site.) On 1/27/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Reform and Federal Relations Committee. On 4/4/2016, reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading. On 9/15/2016, passed Assembly (76-0-0). (Last Session Bill Number: A2581 S1319)
A2160 / S1269 Provides that President of Municipal Clerks’ Association of New Jersey and one additional public member serve as members of Government Records Council. 1/27/2016 Introduced, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee. 2/8/2016 Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading. (Last Session Bill Number: A1475 / S875 )
A2234 Requires government records to be picked up within 10 business days of availability or request deemed fulfilled; may be extended to 30 calendar days. (Last Session was A2328)
A2342 Provides that certain personal identifying information may be redacted from certain Public Records in certain circumstances. (Last Session Bill Number: A838 )
A2349 Provides that toll revenue generated from Panynj bridges shall not exceed cost of maintenance, operation, and debt service of those bridges. 2/4/2016 – Introduced, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A1087 )
A2435 Reforms Panynj; requires appearance by Panynj before legislative committees. 2/4/2016 – Introduced, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A4612 )
A2621 Requires legislators to certify in writing, upon introduction of legislation, that no monetary benefit will be derived from it; requires certification be filed with the Legislative Ethics Commission. (Last Session Bill Number: A217)
A2697 / S1046 Makes certain access changes to open public records act; establishes State public finance website and creates program for development of local websites; makes appropriation. On 2/8/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session was S782)
A2699 / S1045 Makes various changes to law addressing meetings of public bodies to provide public with greater access to meetings and information about meetings. On 2/8/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session was S781)
A2706 Requires board of education to unseal and announce contents of bids for certain subcontracting only at regularly scheduled, Public Meetings of the board. (Last Session Bill Number: A1651)
A2825 Permits public records custodian to require deposit for Opra record requests exceeding $15. (Last Session Bill Number: A2743)
A3626 Prohibits release of personal identifying information of violent crime victims and witnesses under State’s open public records law. 4/14/2016 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. 5/12/2016, Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading. 5/26/2016, Passed by the Assembly (69-0-3). 6/6/2016, Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

Related post:  http://njfog.org/2016/06/03/a3626-erodes-public-access-crime-records/

A4028 / S2506 Concerns speech rights of student journalists at public schools and public institutions of higher education. On 6/30/2016, Introduced, Referred to Assembly Education Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A4912)
A4116 / S2469 Provides that AG handle investigation and prosecution of crime involving person’s death by law enforcement officer while acting in officer’s official capacity or while in custody; requires trial in venue outside county where incident occurred. On 9/15/2016, Introduced And Referred To Assembly Judiciary Committee.
AR74 Resolution that urges Panynj to restore fares and tolls to 2011 levels. 2/4/2016 – Introduced, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: AR156 )
S84 / A569 Requires all elected or appointed local government officers to receive Ethics training.
(Last Session Bill Number: S3188 A172)   1/12/2016 – Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. 3/7/2016 Reported out of committee, 2nd Reading. 5/9/2016 Passed by the Senate (39-0)
S120 Eliminates power of DRPA to finance economic development; changes composition of board; imposes restrictions regarding financing, contract procedures, conflicts of interest, and review audits; creates commuter’s council. On 1/12/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Transportation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S2013)
S240 Protects home addresses of law enforcement officers from being released by governmental entities. On 1/12/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S100 / A1544)
S308 / A777 Requires public bodies under Open Public Meetings Act to display U.S. flag and recite Pledge of Allegiance at beginning of meeting. (Last Session Bill Number: S2608 A3933) 1/12/2016, Introduced And Referred To Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.  5/23/2016, Reported Senate Committee Amendments 2nd Reading.
S320 Limits disclosure of accident reports until after 90 days of the accident, except to authorized individuals, and except as otherwise required by NJSA 47:1A-3(b). (Last Session was S373)
S342 / A943 Transfers responsibility for establishment and enforcement of ethical standards for local officials and school officials to the State Ethics Commission. 1/12/2016 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. On 2/4/2016, Reported from Senate Committee as a Substitute (revised bill), 2nd Reading. On 2/11/2016, Passed Senate (28-0). On 2/16/2016, Received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee. (S729 / A1195 in last session)
S355 Provides governance, transparency, and accountability reforms at Panynj. 1/12/2016 – Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S3048 A4594 )
S358 / A1014 Exempts from OPRA all personal identifying information submitted to an agency for emergency notification purposes, including name, email address and phone number. S358 was on the legislative agenda for 10/17/2016.  (Last Session was S601/A445.  Note:  In last session, S601 was voted 5-0 out of committee favorably.)
S361 Grants subpoena power to Office of Inspector General at Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in furtherance of investigations. 1/12/2016 -Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Transportation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S963 A2754 )
S395 Establishes pilot program in Edison Township requiring Attorney General to perform police internal affairs functions. 1/12/2016 – Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.  (Last Session Bill Number: S1236)  Barnes, Peter J., III as Primary Sponsor. On 3/3/2016, the bill was passed by the Senate Committee, to be reported on second reading. 3/7/2016 – reported 2nd Reading. 3/7/2016 – Referred To Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

News coverage:  http://www.njtvonline.org/news/video/bill-to-take-over-edison-police-internal-affairs-moves-forward/.

This is the same bill that NJFOG’s John Paff testified on in January 2015 (S1236 in last session). NJFOG supports the bill with an amendment allowing for disclosure, with redaction as necessary, of the internal affairs files at the end of the 2-year pilot program. Read more on that here: http://njfog.org/2015/01/16/njfogs-john-paff-testifies-police-internal-affairs-transparency-bill/

S400 Requires Attorney General to appoint special prosecutor when criminal complaint is filed against law enforcement officer. On 1/12/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S2718 / A4162)
S550 Establishes “Bi-State Commission to Recommend Reforms to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.” 1/12/2016 – Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S2207 )
S696 Increases transparency and accountability at PANYNJ. On 1/12/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S2181 / A3417)
S706 / A923 Provides transparency and accountability reforms at Panynj; modifies governance structure; provides legislative oversight of Panynj. 1/12/2016 – Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S3066 A4637 )
S708 / A2184 Provides transparency and accountability reforms at PANYNJ; modifies governance structure; provides legislative oversight of PANYNJ; and regulates capital planning process.
1/12/2016 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee
2/4/2016 Reported from Senate Committee, 2nd Reading
2/11/2016 Motion To Sa (Kean)
2/11/2016 Motion To Table (Weinberg) (21-13)
2/11/2016 Passed by the Senate (25-9)
2/16/2016 Received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee
3/7/2016 Transferred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee
3/7/2016 Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading
4/7/2016 Substituted for A2184
4/7/2016 Passed Assembly (Passed Both Houses) (67-0-6)
5/23/2016 Conditional Veto, Received in the Senate
http://njfog.org/2016/05/24/governor-conditionally-vetoes-port-authority-broad-reform-bill/
S727 “New Jersey Open Data Initiative;” requires certain information be made available on Internet by State departments and agencies. The bill would require “the Department of the Treasury to establish an unique, dedicated, easily navigable Internet website which will offer to the public all available appropriate existing and future electronic data sets maintained by each State department and agency.”  On 1/12/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: S3137 / A2071) On 5/23/2016, Reported from Senate Committee as a Substitute, 2nd Reading. On 6/23/2016, Senate Amendment (28-0) (Cruz-Perez). On 6/27/2016, Passed by the Senate (30-9). On 6/27/2016 Received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly State and Local Government Committee. On 9/19/2016, Reported Assembly Committee Amendments 2nd Reading. The bill was scheduled for a committee session (State and Local Government) on 9/19/2016 2:00 PM.
S788 (new) Exempts law enforcement cameras and 911 recordings from OPRA.
S1045 / A2699 Makes various changes to law addressing meetings of public bodies to provide public with greater access to meetings and information about meetings. On 2/8/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session was S781)
S1046 / A2697 Makes certain access changes to open public records act; establishes State public finance website and creates program for development of local websites; makes appropriation. On 2/8/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session was S782)
S1269 / A2160 Provides that President of Municipal Clerks’ Association of New Jersey and one additional public member serve as members of Government Records Council. On 2/8/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A1475 / S875 )
S1341 Increases maximum penalty under “Local Government Ethics Law.” (Last Session Bill Number: S1076)
S2023 / A2082 Requires OAL to maintain Internet database summarizing all State rule-making actions. (Currently, no record is maintained online; the bill would create a first-time available site.) On 4/18/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. One 9/12/2016, Reported from Senate Committee, 2nd Reading. (Last Session Bill Number: A2581 S1319)
S2100 Imposes certain qualification requirements for members of State Ethics Commission; authorizes Governor to remove member; provides process for appointment of members. 5/2/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. 5/23/2016, Reported from Senate Committee with Amendments, 2nd Reading. On 6/23/2016, Passed by the Senate (35-0). On 6/23/2016, Received in the Assembly, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee.
S2469 / A4116 Provides that AG handle investigation and prosecution of crime involving person’s death by law enforcement officer while acting in officer’s official capacity or while in custody; requires trial in venue outside county where incident occurred. On 7/14/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. On 9/8/2016, Reported from Senate Committee with Amendments, 2nd Reading. On 9/15/2016, Senate Floor Amendments Passed (22-0).
S2506 / A4028 Concerns speech rights of student journalists at public schools and public institutions of higher education. On 9/8/2016, Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Education Committee. (Last Session Bill Number: A4912)