New Jersey Law

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Is It Time to Change OPRA? The New Jersey Legislature is Discussing the Options

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Senate bill S 107 is a forty-five page document that proposes significant changes to the Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”). N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. Among other things, it broadens the definition of government records, expands the quasi-governmental agencies subject to OPRA and begins to touch on privacy concerns and the ability of commercial ventures to use government records for financial gain. It also impacts the way government agencies collect and maintain records and the medium or format in which they must share that information. Notably, the bill also requires the creation of a study commission on OPRA. The bill was voted out of committee and was almost put to a vote in the full Senate. The companion bill in the Assembly, A 4241, is still in committee. It is not clear if S 107 will be brought back for a vote in the Senate this session. We are watching this issue and the broader questions of whether its time to change OPRA and how it should change. It should be noted that there is also a bill A 4894 pending in the Assembly with the single purpose of creating a study commission on OPRA.

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