New York Public Record Laws

Citations

Freedom of Information Law, Article 6, Sections 84-90
(http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil2.html)

Exemptions to Disclosure

An agency may deny access to records or portions thereof that 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;
  • 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; or iv. External audits, including but not limited to audits performed by the comptroller and the federal government

Access Rights

The law explicitly states that the “public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government.”

No search fees allowed; cost cannot exceed actual copying cost; no fee waivers

Destruction of Public Records

“Any person who, with intent to prevent public inspection of a record pursuant to this article, willfully conceals or destroys any such record shall be guilty of a violation.”

Records cannot be destroyed except in accordance with the retention schedule.