The Daily Journal

Urging NJ Senators To Vote For Bills To Ensure Transparency

The Daily Journal — Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This is an open letter to New Jersey's senators urging support for S2512 and S2511.

Dear New Jersey's state senators:

With the passage of time and well-documented technology advances, New Jersey's "open government" legislation requires an upgrade and an update. Doing so is essential to ensure our state's citizens have ready access to their government records and meetings; thereby affirming New Jersey's policy of transparency in government.

To this end, the undersigned strongly support passage of two bills sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Sen. Joseph Pennacchio. These bills properly accomplish what's good for our state's citizens and we strongly request all senators support and vote YES for S2512 (amending OPRA) and S2511 (amending OPMA).

Amendments to the Open Public Records Act

S2512 amends various provisions of the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. ("OPRA") and advances its express purpose of ready access to government records. As examples:

It is also important to note the bill's responsiveness to concerns expressed by the NJ League of Municipalities and Conference of Mayors, e.g.:

Amendments to the Open Public Meetings Act

Bill S2511 serves to properly advance N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq. ("OPMA") and its express recognition and furtherance of the public's right to be present at all meetings of its public bodies, and to fully witness in all phases of the deliberation, policy formation and decision-making. For example:

Recognizing the growing pervasiveness of electronic communications, this will properly foster transparency and the expressly stated "right of the public to be present at all meetings of public bodies and to witness in full detail all phases of the deliberation, policy formation and decision-making of those bodies."

We, the undersigned, fully support these bills. The rights they ensure belong to every citizen in New Jersey. These bills are the public's bills. We join in this letter to encourage all Senators to vote YES.

Sincerely,

BlueWaveNJ; Citizens Campaign of New Jersey; Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO; IFPTE Local 194; Iron Bound Community Corporation; Local 32BJ-Service Employees International Union; New Jersey Apartment Association; New Jersey Citizen Action; New Jersey Environmental Federation; New Jersey Foundation for Open Government; New Jersey League of Conservation Voters; New Jersey Press Association; New Jersey Sierra Club; New Jersey Working Families Alliance; Pinelands Preservation Alliance; Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association

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