New Yorkers deserve timely access to public records pertaining to the environment and public health. Under the current system, certain information maintained by the state government is only released pursuant to formal requests through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). These requests take weeks and, more often than not, months to be fulfilled. This legislation will require state agencies and the state legislature to proactively release information, otherwise available through a FOIL request, that is deemed of substantial interest to the public. The preemptive release of such records will serve to improve government transparency while easing the burden on public information officers by cutting back on the amount of state resources dedicated to fulfilling duplicative information requests.
This legislation amends the Freedom of Information Law to require every agency and each house of the state legislature to publish, on their respective websites, records or portions of records that are available to the public and determined to be of substantial interest to the public.