The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and a coalition of 33 media organizations sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to sign into law a bill that will strengthen New York’s Freedom of Information Law. For those who challenge government denials of their requests for public records in court and win, the bill would allow them to recover attorney’s fees and other litigation costs from the government.
“Public information belongs to the public, and it shouldn’t cost thousands of dollars in legal fees to access it,” said Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “If the government is required to pay the legal costs when a court finds they had no reasonable basis to deny a public information request, it provides an incentive for them to comply with legitimate requests in the first place. More information in the hands of the public only strengthens government transparency and accountability.”
The bill passed the state’s legislature on June 5, 2017, but has not yet been sent to the governor. Governor Cuomo will have 10 days to sign the bill into law once he receives it.
Read the full letter here.