Senate Majority Leader Re-Intros OPRA & OPMA Changes
Legislation to overhaul the state’s transparency with regard to public records and meeting have been reintroduced.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, (Bergen) said in a release that bills she had sponsored in the last legislative session to modernize New Jersey’s Open Public Meetings Act and Open Public Records Act have been submitted again.
One bill, S-1452, would rename the State’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) as the “Martin O’Shea Open Public Records Act” after the late journalist and longtime public records advocate. The bill would broaden access to government records by allowing anyone to make an OPRA request, not just New Jersey residents, and by allowing records requests to be made on documents other than the adopted form, so long as it contains notice that it is an OPRA request and contains the information required on the adopted form.
The second bill, S-1451, would update the “Senator Byron M. Baer Open Public Meetings Act,” also known as the “Sunshine Law,” in order to address changes to the operating procedure of public meetings since the enactment of the law in the 1970s. The bill would include quasi-governmental organizations – as well as independent authorities, redevelopment entities and improvement authorities – under the provisions of the law, and would require a public body to provide electronic notice of a meeting on its Internet site, as well as access to meeting minutes, agendas, resolutions and ordinances, if it maintains an Internet site.
Weinberg said that both bills include input from a variety of government figures, including municipal clerks and other officials.
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