NJFOG Recommends Legislators Withdraw Regressive Bills to Amend the Open Public Records Act

Re:  S2930 and A4045

Dear Sen. Sarlo and Assemb. Karabinchak:

I am the President of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government (“NJFOG”), and we write regarding your committees’ consideration of S2930 and A4045.

While OPRA is used by many of New Jersey’s citizens, residents, and their representatives, almost all of the proposed changes are severely regressive, which means that the people who will be harmed the most by these bills are those who lack access to legal services, those who cannot afford legal services, and those who seek to preserve or vindicate their rights in a civil society.

We recommend that these bills be withdrawn from consideration.  These bills were introduced one week ago.  If enacted, they would have wide-ranging and, in many cases, unintended consequences on access to records.  As an organization, we are not aware of any interest group that was given an opportunity to review draft versions of these bills.  It is not a small irony that these bills were drafted in secret, introduced without prior notice, and sent to committee in seven days.  Based on the complete lack of transparency regarding S2930 and A4045, we request and recommend that the bills be withdrawn from committee so that all interested parties may have a meaningful opportunity to provide their comments and input regarding the harm these bills would cause on New Jersey’s residents, if they are passed as currently drafted.


                                                                        /s/ Walter M. Luers

                                                                        President, NJFOG