Thursday, December 17, 2015

Report: Gov. Cuomo vetoes transparency laws

Glens Falls Post-Star:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the weekend vetoed two laws intended to strengthen the Freedom of Information Law process but issued an executive order to expedite the process of receiving government documents, but only for state agencies.

Blair Horner, legislative director of New York Public Interest Research Group, said it is odd that Cuomo vetoed the measures when Robert Freeman, executive director of the State Committee on Open Government, recommended both measures in the state agency’s annual report...

Public interest advocacy groups and newspaper editorial boards advocated for both measures...

The Freedom of Information Law guarantees public access to government documents and records, with certain specific exceptions.

One of the bills the governor vetoed would have required state agencies to pay legal fees and court costs when a court rules that documents have been withheld without a reasonable basis...

The other bill Cuomo vetoed reduced the time public agencies have to appeal a court decision on access to public records — from nine months to two months.

Cuomo on Saturday issued an executive order that requires state agencies to file notice of an appeal, settle the record on the appeal and file a legal brief within 60 days.