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Jun 20

OPRA Reforms: Protective Orders

Posted on June 20, 2023 at 3:05 PM by Legislative Staff

Assemblyman Danielsen has introduced A-5615, which provides for protective orders to limit Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request. 

The legislation would permit the Superior Court to issue a protective order limiting the number and scope of OPRA requests. The order may be issued if the Court determines that the OPRA requests over a period of time have substantially disrupted the operations of the public agency, the records custodian, or both.

The petition, which is filed in the county of primary place of business or residency, must be accompanied by a declaration of facts by the public agency demonstrating that it has complied with OPRA and has made a good faith effort to reach an informal resolution relating to the records request.

The courts may limit or eliminate, in appropriate circumstances, the public agency’s duty to respond to future government records requests from the requestor. If an order is issued. it may set timeframes for responding to future requests; however, the order cannot exceed one year from the date of issuance.

An order is immediately reviewable by petition to the Appellate Division of Superior Court within 20 days, unless the order is delivered by mail, in which case within 25 days.  A stay shall not be granted unless the petitioning party demonstrates probable success on the merits or that it will otherwise sustain irreparable damage. A person who fails to obey an order will be cited to show cause why they are not in contempt of court.

A-5615 would take effect on the first day of the fourth month following enactment. 

There is no Senate companion at this time. A-5615 awaits consideration by the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee. 

Contact: Lori Buckelew, Deputy Executive Director & Director of Government Affairs, lbuckelew@njlm.org, 609-695-3481, x112.