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A10611 Summary:

SPONSORRules (O'Donnell)
COSPNSRHeastie, Peoples-Stokes, Aubry, Arroyo, Bichotte, Bronson, Burke, Carroll, Colton, Crespo, Cruz, De La Rosa, DenDekker, Dickens, Epstein, Fernandez, Frontus, Glick, Gottfried, Hunter, Hyndman, Jacobson, Jean-Pierre, Lifton, Magnarelli, McDonald, Nolan, Otis, Pichardo, Pretlow, Ramos, Reyes, Richardson, Rosenthal D, Rosenthal L, Rozic, Seawright, Simon, Simotas, Steck, Taylor, Thiele, Walker, Weinstein, Wright, Ortiz, Rivera, Buchwald, Galef, Lentol, Mosley, Lupardo, Rodriguez, Jaffee, Blake, Barrett, Kim, Davila, Zebrowski, Niou, Vanel
Rpld 50-a, Civ Rts L; amd 86, 87 & 89, Pub Off L
Relates to the disclosure of law enforcement disciplinary records.
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A10611 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
SPONSOR: Rules (O'Donnell)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil rights law and the public officers law, in relation to the disclosure of law enforcement disciplinary records; and to repeal section 50-a of the civil rights law relating thereto   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to repeal section 50-a of the civil rights law and make changes to article 6 of the public officers law to provide for the release of certain law enforcement records.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section one repeals section 50-a of the civil rights law. Section two creates four new subdivisions in section 86 of the public officers law. Subdivision 6 defines law enforcement disciplinary records, subdivision 7 defines a law enforcement disciplinary proceed- ing, subdivision 8 defines what constitutes a law enforcement agency, and subdivision 9 defines a technical infraction. Section three creates two new subdivisions which relate to the redaction of portions of a law enforcement disciplinary records. Section four provides that a law enforcement agency would be required to redact from law enforcement disciplinary records: * Items involving medical history of police officers, peace officers, firefighters and firefighter/paramedic unless the records was obtained during the course of an agency's investigation of the person's miscon- duct; * home addresses and personal phone numbers and email address of police officers, peace officers, firefighters and firefighter/paramedic or a family member or the complainant or another person in the disciplinary record; * Social security numbers; * The use of Employee. Assistance Program, mental health services or substance abuse by police officers, peace officers, firefighters and firefighter/paramedic unless the use of is mandated by a disciplinary proceeding that may otherwise be disclosed. A law enforcement agency may also redact law enforcement disciplinary records that pertain to technical infractions. "Technical infraction" is defined as a minor rule violation by a person employed by a law enforce- ment agency as a police officer, peace officer, or firefighter or firefighter/paramedic, solely related to the enforcement of administra- tive departmental rules that (a) do not involve interactions with members of the public, (b) are not of public concern, and (c) are not otherwise connected to a such person's investigative, enforcement, training, supervision, or reporting responsibilities. Section 5 is the effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: Section 50-a of the New York State Civil Rights Law permits law enforce- ment officers to refuse disclosure of "personnel records used to evalu- ate performance toward continued employment or promotion." This exemption was adopted in 1976 by the Legislature in order to prevent criminal defense lawyers from using such records in cross examination of police witnesses during criminal prosecutions. According to the 2014 annual report by the State Committee on Open Government to the Governor and the State Legislature, "this narrow exemption has been expanded in the courts to allow police departments to withhold from the public virtually any record that contains any information that could conceiva- bly be used to evaluate the performance of a police officer. Recent events have highlighted the importance for the public to have access to information, specifically with regards to law enforcement disciplinary records. The Freedom of Information Law helps achieve the goal of an open and transparent government by providing individuals with greater access to their government. There is a strong presumption under FOIL that government records are accessible to the public. That ability to FOIL this type of record will lead to a greater trust between the public and law enforcement.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.
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