Assemblyman Danielsen has introduced four pieces of legislation to begin the conversation on OPRA reform. The bills are:
A-5613, which makes various changes to the process for requesting access to government records;
A-5614, which increases membership of Government Records Council (GRC); provides for advisory opinions; requires complaints to be initiated with the Council; limits attorneys’ fees; appropriates $250,000;
A-5615, which provides for protective orders to limit requests for access to government records in certain cases; and
A-5616, which makes various changes to the process for requesting access to government records.
Highlights of the bills include:
- Changes prevailing attorneys’ fees from mandatory to permissive and the prevailing attorneys’ rate would be based on the hourly rate of the municipal attorney (or public agency for other levels of government).
- Defines “commercial purposes” and limits commercial requests to two requests per month.
- Includes penalty for falsifying commercial request certification, including inability to make any commercial requests for one year.
- Removes the Superior Court as an option for OPRA challenges. All challenges will first go to the GRC then appeals will be handled by Superior Court.
- Permits the Superior Court to issue a protective order limiting or eliminating the right to request records for a one-year period.
- Exempts from disclosure all telephone numbers, email addresses, social media addresses, and metadata.
- Permits a records custodian to deny request if they are required to conduct research or review government records to identify, analyze, collate, or sort information within the records.
- Expands timeframe to respond to multiple requests from the same requestor.
- Permits records custodians to direct requestors to documents on website, if the request is emailed.
- Requires certain records to be available on the municipal (public agency) website for a period of five years.
For further details on each bill, please see our recent blog posts for A-5613, A-5614, A-5615,and A-5616.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, Deputy Executive Director & Director of Government Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x112.