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'OPRA and OPMA'

Jan 28

Legislation Introduced Creating Open Public Records Study Commission

Posted to The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder on January 28, 2020 at 3:16 PM by Legislative Staff

Senator Corrado has introduced S-180, which establishes the Open Public Records Act Study Commission. The bill has been referenced to Senate State Government Committee. The League strongly supports S-180 and we thank Senator Corrado and Assemblyman Dancer, who has proposed the Assembly companion A-2358, for introducing this legislation based on League Conference Resolution 2018-10. The time has come for a comprehensive reform by all of the stakeholders on this 18 year old law.

The 14 member Commission is tasked with:

  • reviewing OPRA and examining how the statute compares with actual operation and use;
  • evaluating how advancements in technology, administrative decisions, and court rulings have impacted OPRA;
  • analyzing how OPRA requests are balanced with the public’s right to privacy;
  • examining how OPRA has been used for commercial, marketing, business, and research purposes; 
  • studying the advantages and disadvantages of expanding access to law enforcement records;
  • researching public records statutes and their operation and use, both positive and negative, of other states;
  • considering such other matters relating to OPRA as the members of the commission may deem appropriate; and
  • making recommendations for legislation or such other action as it deems appropriate with regard to improving, expanding, and facilitating OPRA.

The Commission must have their initial meeting within 45 days of all the members’ appointment. At that time, the Commission will elect among themselves a chair and vice chair. The Chair has the authority to appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the Commission. The Commission will have one year to submit Reports and Findings to the Governor and Legislature.

The Commission must hold at least three (3) public hearings in different parts of the state and elicit testimony from the public.

The 14 member Commission, who will serve without compensation, are: 

Ex-Officio, who may appoint a designee

  • NJ Attorney General
  • Department of Community Affairs Commissioner
  • Government Records Council Executive Director

Four members appointed by the Senate President

  • Member of law enforcement
  • A person with experience with commercial requests
  • Member of the general public with interest in open and transparent government
  • County records custodian recommended by the New Jersey Association of Counties

Four members appointed by the Assembly Speaker

  • Member of New Jersey Press Association
  • Member of the general public with experience advocating for privacy rights
  • An attorney with knowledge and experience of OPRA & representing local government
  • Municipal Clerk recommended by the League of Municipalities and Municipal Clerks Association of New Jersey

Three members appointed by the Governor

  • State records custodian
  • Member of the ACLU
  • School Board records custodian recommended by the New Jersey School Board Association

The Commission will expire on the 1st day of the 13th month after the Commission submits its report to the Governor and Legislature.

Please contact your Senator and Assembly representatives urging them to pass S-180. Furthermore, if you have not done so already, please consider adopting the resolution calling for an OPRA study commission.

Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst, lbuckelew@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x112.



Tag(s): OPRA and OPMA