New York Consolidated Laws, Public Officers Law § 87. Access to agency records




1. (a) Within sixty days after the effective date of this article, the governing body of each public corporation shall promulgate uniform rules and regulations for all agencies in such public corporation pursuant to such general rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the committee on open government in conformity with the provisions of this article, pertaining to the administration of this article.

(b) Each agency shall promulgate rules and regulations, in conformity with this article and applicable rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, and pursuant to such general rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the committee on open government in conformity with the provisions of this article, pertaining to the availability of records and procedures to be followed, including, but not limited to:

i. the times and places such records are available;

ii. the persons from whom such records may be obtained, and

iii. the fees for copies of records which shall not exceed twenty-five cents per photocopy not in excess of nine inches by fourteen inches, or the actual cost of reproducing any other record in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this subdivision, except when a different fee is otherwise prescribed by statute.

(c) In determining the actual cost of reproducing a record, an agency may include only:

i. an amount equal to the hourly salary attributed to the lowest paid agency employee who has the necessary skill required to prepare a copy of the requested record;

ii. the actual cost of the storage devices or media provided to the person making the request in complying with such request;

iii. the actual cost to the agency of engaging an outside professional service to prepare a copy of a record, but only when an agency's information technology equipment is inadequate to prepare a copy, if such service is used to prepare the copy;  and

iv. preparing a copy shall not include search time or administrative costs, and no fee shall be charged unless at least two hours of agency employee time is needed to prepare a copy of the record requested.  A person requesting a record shall be informed of the estimated cost of preparing a copy of the record if more than two hours of an agency employee's time is needed, or if an outside professional service would be retained to prepare a copy of the record.

2. Each agency shall, in accordance with its published rules, make available for public inspection and copying all records, except that such agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that:

(a) are specifically exempted from disclosure by state or federal statute;

(b) if disclosed would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy under the provisions of subdivision two of section eighty-nine of this article;

(c) if disclosed would impair present or imminent contract awards or collective bargaining negotiations;

(d) are trade secrets or are submitted to an agency by a commercial enterprise or derived from information obtained from a commercial enterprise and which if disclosed would cause substantial injury to the competitive position of the subject enterprise;

(e) are compiled for law enforcement purposes and which, if disclosed, would:

i. interfere with law enforcement investigations or judicial proceedings;

ii. deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or impartial adjudication;

iii. identify a confidential source or disclose confidential information relating to a criminal investigation;  or

iv. reveal criminal investigative techniques or procedures, except routine techniques and procedures;

(f) if disclosed could endanger the life or safety of any person;

(g) are inter-agency or intra-agency materials which are not:

i. statistical or factual tabulations or data;

ii. instructions to staff that affect the public;

iii. final agency policy or determinations;

iv. external audits, including but not limited to audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government;  or

(h) are examination questions or answers which are requested prior to the final administration of such questions.

(i) if disclosed, would jeopardize the capacity of an agency or an entity that has shared information with an agency to guarantee the security of its information technology assets, such assets encompassing both electronic information systems and infrastructures;  or

(j) [Deemed repealed Dec. 1, 2019, pursuant to L.1988, c. 746, § 17.]  are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-a of the vehicle and traffic law.

(k) [Expires and deemed repealed Dec. 1, 2019, pursuant to L.2009, c. 19, § 10;  L.2009, c. 20, § 24;  L.2009, c. 21, § 22;  L.2009, c. 22, § 22;  L.2009, c. 23, § 9;  L.2009, c. 383, § 24.] are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-b of the vehicle and traffic law.

(l) [Expires and deemed repealed Sept. 20, 2020, pursuant to L.2010, c. 59, pt. II, § 14.] are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images produced by a bus lane photo device prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-c of the vehicle and traffic law.

(m) [Expires and deemed repealed Aug. 30, 2018, pursuant to L.2013, c. 189, § 15.] are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under the authority of section eleven hundred eighty-b of the vehicle and traffic law.

(n) [Expires and deemed repealed July 25, 2018, pursuant to L.2014, c. 43, § 12.  See, also, par. (n) below.] are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under the authority of section eleven hundred eighty-c of the vehicle and traffic law.

(n) [Expires and deemed repealed Aug. 21, 2019, pursuant to L.2014, c. 99, § 15;  L.2014, c. 101, § 15;  L.2014, c. 123, § 15.  See, also, par. (n) above.] are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-d of the vehicle and traffic law.

(o) [Expires and deemed repealed Sept. 12, 2020, pursuant to L.2015, c. 222, § 15.] are photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images prepared under authority of section eleven hundred eleven-e of the vehicle and traffic law.

3. Each agency shall maintain:

(a) a record of the final vote of each member in every agency proceeding in which the member votes;

(b) a record setting forth the name, public office address, title and salary of every officer or employee of the agency;  and

(c) a reasonably detailed current list by subject matter of all records in the possession of the agency, whether or not available under this article.  Each agency shall update its subject matter list annually, and the date of the most recent update shall be conspicuously indicated on the list.  Each state agency as defined in subdivision four of this section that maintains a website shall post its current list on its website and such posting shall be linked to the website of the committee on open government.  Any such agency that does not maintain a website shall arrange to have its list posted on the website of the committee on open government.

4. (a) Each state agency which maintains records containing trade secrets, to which access may be denied pursuant to paragraph (d) of subdivision two of this section, shall promulgate regulations in conformity with the provisions of subdivision five of section eighty-nine of this article pertaining to such records, including, but not limited to the following:

(1) the manner of identifying the records or parts;

(2) the manner of identifying persons within the agency to whose custody the records or parts will be charged and for whose inspection and study the records will be made available;

(3) the manner of safeguarding against any unauthorized access to the records.

(b) As used in this subdivision the term “agency” or “state agency” means only a state department, board, bureau, division, council or office and any public corporation the majority of whose members are appointed by the governor.

(c) Each state agency that maintains a website shall post information related to this article and article six-A of this chapter on its website.  Such information shall include, at a minimum, contact information for the persons from whom records of the agency may be obtained, the times and places such records are available for inspection and copying, and information on how to request records in person, by mail, and, if the agency accepts requests for records electronically, by e-mail.  This posting shall be linked to the website of the committee on open government.

5. (a) An agency shall provide records on the medium requested by a person, if the agency can reasonably make such copy or have such copy made by engaging an outside professional service.  Records provided in a computer format shall not be encrypted.

(b) No agency shall enter into or renew a contract for the creation or maintenance of records if such contract impairs the right of the public to inspect or copy the agency's records.


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