Relates to expanding the definition of agency; includes entities created by an agency or that are governed by a board of directors or similar body a majority of which is designated by one or more state or local government officials in the definition of agency under the public officers law.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A5854A
SPONSOR: Schimminger (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public officers law, in relation
to expanding the definition of agency
PURPOSE OF THE BILL:
This bill would require that an entity created by a government agency or
a subsidiary or affiliate of a government agency will be subject to the
Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
§ 1- Amends subdivision 3 of § 86 of the Public Officers Law to expand
the definition of "Agency" to include entities created by an agency or
that are governed by a board of directors or similar body a majority of
which is designated by one or more state or local government officials.
§ 2- Effective date.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION:
Technical correction on line 7 of the bill to change the word "or" to
Recently, the New York State Department of State's Committee on Open
Government released its annual report. This report included several
proposals crafted to provide greater and more effective government tran-
sparency, including this proposed legislation. As the report states, the
proposals are, "an effort to foster the government's duty to be account-
able to those that it serves." Specifically on the issue of FOIL, the
"A significant element of a recent investigation by the US Attorney for
the Southern District of New York focused on nonprofit entities associ-
ated with the State University (SUNY). Efforts by the news media to gain
access to records of those entities have been rebuffed, despite our view
that many are and have been required to comply with FOIL.
FOIL applies to agency records. To ensure that the records of entities
created by government are subject to FOIL, the definition of "agency" in
§ 86(3) should be amended to mean:
"any state or municipal department, board, bureau, division, commission,
committee, public authority, public corporation, council, office or
other governmental entity performing a governmental or proprietary func-
tion for the state or any one or more municipalities thereof, as well as
entities created by an agency or that are governed by a board of direc-
tors or similar body a majority of which is designated by one or more
state or local government officials, except the judiciary or the state
In addition, the report "emphasized that the receipt of government fund-
ing or entering into contractual relationships with a government agency
does not transform a private entity into a government agency. Rather,
the Committee's proposal is limited to those entities which, despite
their corporate status, are subsidiaries or affiliates of a government
In the hopes of rebuilding the public's faith in their government by
furthering transparency and expanding access to information, this legis-
lation would require that an entity created by a government agency or a
subsidiary or affiliate of a government agency will now be subject to
the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
This act shall take effect on the ninetieth day after it shall have
become a law.